Saskatchewan health ministry expands coronavirus testing

Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Health is expanding coronavirus testing to include travelers returning not just from China, but from other countries where there is active community transmission.

The ministry’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab says that includes countries such as Italy, Iran and South Korea.

“If you’ve travelled to those countries as well as a few other countries with larger clusters like Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong, then you are asked to be monitoring your symptoms,” Shahab said.

Shahab said the province continues to ask anybody coming back from these parts of the world to self-isolate for at least two weeks and to call the health line when returning.

He said most cases can be cured at home with bed rest, but says cases where the symptoms are stronger may require a trip to the hospital.

“The data we have, primarily from China … shows that if 100 people got COVID-19, 80 would do fine at home and 20 would require some high level of care,” Shahab said. He said the ratio of patients experiencing severe symptoms are even smaller among those seeking hospital care.

He said the province is well prepared if they have to deal with any hospitalizations due to the virus.

Flu season in Saskatchewan remains average

As for the flu, there haven’t been any more reported deaths since the province’s update last week.

“It’s been a very average flu season this year. It’s dragging along, but as it settles down we hope that things will stay quiet,” Shahab said.

Between Sept. 1, 2019 and Feb. 15, 2020 there have been 25 intensive care unit admissions and 11 deaths.

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