Saskatchewan has reported an increase of 56 cases of COVID-19 over the last three days, most of them in Hutterite colonies.
Two cases were reported July 11, another 23 on July 12 and 31 on July 13.
Health officials said July 13 that most of the cases are concentrated in the southwestern and west-central parts of the province.
By region, there are 31 new cases in the central area, 15 in the south, six in Saskatoon and four in Regina.
Health minister Jim Reiter said government officials are working with the Hutterian Safety Council to address the situation.
“The two Hutterite communities in the RM of Maple Creek that were the site of the initial outbreak are down to very few cases,” he said.
The rural municipalities with cases include: Maple Creek, Auvergne, Biggar, Carmichael, Eagle Creek, Harris, Lac Pelletier, Newcombe, Perdue, Kellross and Prairiedale.
Reiter said officials and the council are providing increased testing and contact tracing in the infected communities, ensuring self-isolation and compliance with self-isolation requirements.
Chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said cases in Regina and Saskatoon are related to travel or close family contact.
Eight of the recent cases are individuals who aren’t linked to communal settings, but public health is investigating and public service announcements will be issued if required.
The others are due to investigations of specific outbreaks and communal living, he said.
“The large case numbers are actually due to active case findings,” said Shahab.
That’s because of a proactive door-to-door effort to test even those with very mild symptoms or none at all.
He added if transmission continues to ramp up, officials will have to look at possibly making masks mandatory and other precautions.
There are three people in hospital as of today. Two of them are in intensive care: one in the south and one in Saskatoon.
Of 871 reported cases in Saskatoon, 90 are active and 766 have recovered.
Beginning tomorrow, testing is available for anyone who requests it. People should call the HealthLine at 811 to obtain referrals.