Schools remain open amid new COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan

Despite closures elsewhere in Canada, schools in Saskatchewan are remaining open at this time, the province said Sunday.

There are currently six presumptive cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by novel coronavirus, in Saskatchewan as of Saturday evening.

The province said any decision to close schools is made on the advice of Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab.

“Any recommendation to close schools is based on risk assessment and made on a case-by-case basis,” Shahab said in a statement.

“The decision to close schools should not be made in the absence of valid public health reasons and the benefits and risks need to be considered carefully.”

Government officials said there are several factors that are taken into consideration before closing schools.

The criteria include evidence of sustained transmission within the community, a rapid increase of local cases and transmission without a known link to travel or confirmed cases.

The six presumptive cases in Saskatchewan at this time are still primarily travel-related and there is no sustained community transmission at the moment, officials said.

School closures could happen locally on the direction of the local medical health officer or more broadly on the direction of the chief medical health officer, they added.

Shahab reiterated Sunday morning the need for all international travellers, including those from the United States, to self-isolate and monitor their health for 14 days upon returning to Saskatchewan.

Travellers returning to the province from within Canada are being advised only to self-monitor for 14 days, he added.

Concerned about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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