Saskatchewan reports 290 more COVID-19 cases; plans to create vaccine TV ads

REGINA — Saskatchewan is reporting another 290 new cases of COVID-19 as it looks to create TV ads to encourage vaccinations.

Health officials said Monday there were 210 people in hospital, with 30 patients receiving intensive care.

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Four more residents, all 60 or older, also died from the virus.

Saskatchewan has recently had the highest rate of active cases per 100,000 population in Canada. And the regions of Saskatoon, North Battleford, Prince Albert and Regina are where many of the active infections are located.

Officials said more than 22,000 vaccine shots have gone into the arms of doctors and nurses working directly with COVID-19 patients, as well as staff and residents in long-term care homes and some seniors.

"Saskatchewan has significantly picked up the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in recent days. Over 10,500 shots have been administered in the past four days," Premier Scott Moe said in a tweet.

To encourage vaccinations, documents posted on the government's procurement website show the Ministry of Health is shopping for a production company to shoot some TV ads next month.

"To get back to the things we love to do, and re-connect with family and friends, people need to get vaccinated. These spots will be used to raise public awareness about the importance of getting vaccinated," the documents read.

Last week, the province's chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, said he would recommend that the Saskatchewan Party government implement stricter public-health restrictions if he keeps seeing 300 or more infections reported daily.

The current public-health order prohibits household guests, as well as restricts business capacity and worship services. It is set to expire next Friday.

"The government and Dr. Shahab are continuously monitoring the case numbers and have not ruled out adjustments before that time," Julie Leggott, Moe's press secretary, said in a statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2020

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