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No cases & low risk of COVID-19: planned events continue

For immediate release: March 9, 2020 - 4:22pm
FI20-1085

The risk of contracting COVID-19 in Saskatoon and province-wide remains low and public events may go on as planned.

“At this time, Saskatchewan does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19, and the risk to Canadians remains low. SHA Public Health in Saskatoon recommends large gatherings like the JUNOS 20 Awards proceed,” says Dr. Johnmark Opondo, Medical Health Officer in Saskatoon for the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

“We continue to encourage participants and attendees to practice strong hand hygiene, minimize close contact such as no hand shaking, and should not attend if they are feeling sick. These guidelines will help prevent the spread of infectious illnesses, including influenza and gastroenteritis.”

What is the City doing to prepare?

The City of Saskatoon has been monitoring and actively engaged in assessing the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) since January 2020. 

“The City has been involved in ongoing planning and information sharing on teleconference calls coordinated through the Emergency Operations Centre with at least a dozen different organizations,” says Pamela Goulden-McLeod, Director of Emergency Management Organization.

Goulden-McLeod says an expert from the Saskatchewan Health Authority – Medical Health Office takes part in every teleconference call as the City continually consults with the Medical Health Office.

“Of course, we will continue to communicate when the level of risk of COVID-19 in Saskatoon changes along with appropriate actions that can be taken.”

What are accurate sources of information?  

During any emergency or large-scale event, it is essential to follow accurate, factual, locally specific sources of information. The Government of Saskatchewan’s website remains the best source of information on this evolving situation, and is updated regularly.

Because of the fluidity of this event, we also strongly encourage anyone planning international travel to review the Government of Canada travel updates regularly for additional information.

What can you do?

As a respiratory illness, the best method to protect yourself against COVID-19 is to practice everyday preventive actions, including:

• Practice proper cough and sneezing etiquette (into the bend of your elbow);

• Wash your hands often with soap and water; if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;

• Maintain safe food practices; and 

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick

There is no evidence that surgical masks protect persons who are not sick. The World Health Organization does not recommend the use of any masks if you do not have a travel history and respiratory symptoms.