Saskatchewan’s highest single day COVID-19 positive test total was announced on Wednesday afternoon, with a full 48 of the 60 new positive cases occurring at Hutterite colonies.
“Almost all of the new cases are related to an ongoing outbreak in a number of Hutterite communities in Southwest and West Central Saskatchewan. In fact, nearly three quarters of the new cases today are from one Hutterite community in the RM of Lawtonia,” Premier Scott Moe said during a media conference on Wednesday afternoon.
“These case numbers are very concerning but they are not entirely unexpected. These large number of cases was detected as a result of the aggressive testing and the contact tracing that the Saskatchewan Health Authority has been doing in a number of Hutterite communities in the province.”
“And that work is ongoing, so it’s possible that we may see similar case numbers in other communities in the very near future.”
Moe again reminded residents in the impacted areas to take a series of precautions to protect yourself and protect others from COVID-19 transmission.
“Stay in your home community as much as possible. Self isolate and get tested if you’re feeling unwell in any way. Self isolate and get tested if you have been in contact with anyone who is known to have tested positive for COVID-19. And limit your interpersonal contact in group gatherings as much as you possibly can.”
Moe noted that they have very good cooperation from the Hutterian Safety Council, along with the leadership and residents from the impacted areas.
“However, there have been a few isolated reports of individuals that have not been following these guidelines and they have travelled outside their communities for non essential reasons, and even when they may not be feeling well.”
“We are in the process of speaking to all of the leaders of all of the Hutterite communities where there is a significant number of cases. And we are working with these local leaders to enact restrictions on all non essential travel in and out of their community. We are working with these local leaders in limiting the essential travel to a small number of designated individuals. This includes travel between Hutterite communities.”
“We know there will still be some travel that will be required. So it’s important for all of us in this province to not stigmatize or exclude members of this community or any other community.”