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BREAKING: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Sask. confirmed

The individual had recently travelled to Egypt
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(Pixabay)

A Saskatchewan resident who recently travelled to Egypt has been confirmed as the province's first presumptive case of COVID-19.

This individual was experiencing symptoms and was therefore tested on March 9 in Saskatoon. They are at home in self-isolation. Public health officials are in regular contact. 

“The province’s first case is linked to travel from a country where local transmission of COVID-19 has been reported,” Provincial Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said in a press release. “This supports the expanded testing criteria of symptomatic travelers to better prepare Saskatchewan’s response to the COVID-19 event.  All travelers need to monitor their symptoms for two weeks upon return home.”
 
Public health’s contact investigation is underway. Health officials will reach out to those in close contact with this individual. If you do not receive a call from public health, you are not at risk of transmission of COVID-19.
 
The Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory reported the positive lab sample on March 12. It has been forwarded to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg for confirmation.
 
“While the risk of acquiring COVID-19 in Saskatchewan continues to be low, increased testing will assist us in detecting cases as early as possible and delaying the spread of the illness as long as possible,” Shahab said. “But it is critical that residents take precautions to protect themselves against respiratory illness. Wash your hands frequently, practice good cough and sneeze hygiene and stay home if you are sick.”
 
To protect yourself, be sure to:

  • Wash your hands frequently — for at least 20 seconds;
  • Do not touch surfaces and then your mouth, eyes or nose;
  • Use tissues when you cough or sneeze and dispose of them immediately, use your elbow if a tissue not available;
  • Practice social distancing by not shaking hands, hugging, etc.;
  • Stay home if you become ill and prevent the spread of the illness.

All travellers should self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough or difficulty breathing) for 14 days after returning to Canada and avoid places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others if you become ill. Even if you have mild symptoms, you are advised to stay home and call HealthLine 811.