Learn more about COVID-19 in Saskatchewan. Daily case numbers and information for businesses and workers.

The Re-Open Saskatchewan plan was released on April 23rd.

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About COVID-19

Learn more about COVID-19 including symptoms, treatment and how to protect yourself.

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1. Symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses including the flu and common cold.

Symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • fever
  • cough
  • headache
  • muscle and/or joint aches and pains
  • sore throat
  • chills
  • runny nose
  • nasal congestion
  • conjunctivitis
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • nausea/vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • loss of appetite (difficulty feeding for children)
  • altered sense of taste or smell
  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty breathing

These may be unexplained new or worsening symptoms, and may vary. Some people experience mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. Older people or those with chronic illnesses are at higher risk for a more severe form of the disease.

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2. What is COVID-19

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. They can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). Some cause illness in people, while others circulate among animals. Some coronaviruses transmit easily from person to person while others do not.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is a new virus that has not been previously identified. SARS-CoV-2 is the cause of COVID-19, which causes mild to moderately severe symptoms and some deaths. The virus spreads through close person-to-person contact. As with new viruses, further details will be available as we learn more.

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3. How COVID-19 Spreads

The virus spreads through respiratory droplets that occur through coughing and sneezing (droplet transmission). The droplets can also be spread by touching surfaces with the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands. While it is not yet known exactly how long the virus lives on surfaces, preliminary evidence suggests it can live on objects and surfaces from a few hours to several days. Therefore, isolation at home or hospital is important to prevent transmission.

While the primary driver of COVID-19 transmission is by people who are symptomatic, there is evidence that some COVID-19 infected people who never develop symptoms or are not yet sick are able to transmit the virus. Sometimes the symptoms are so mild that people don't pay attention to them.

It is recommended to maintain a physical distance of two metres whenever possible.

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4. Testing

Testing is part of the strategy to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the province, and is made available to anyone wishing to be tested. For information on when and where to get tested, see the Testing Information page.

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5. Treatment

Most people with COVID-19 illness will recover on their own. There is no specific treatment for disease caused by COVID-19. Severe or worsening symptoms may require supportive treatment in hospital.

If symptoms feel worse than a standard cold or if you have concerns, contact a health care provider or call HealthLine at 811. If HealthLine 811 recommends you seek acute, they will provide instruction to call ahead.

Currently, there is no approved vaccine that protects against coronaviruses, including COVID-19.

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6. How to Protect Yourself

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

  • Practise proper cough and sneezing etiquette (into a tissue or 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;
  • Clean and disinfect your home regularly;
  • Maintain safe food practices;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Avoid unnecessary travel; and
  • Avoid large crowds and practice physical distancing of ideally two metres whenever possible. Avoid shaking hands, hugging or kissing.

Health officials have agreed that wearing a non-medical mask (e.g. cloth or other materials) – even if you have no symptoms – is an additional measure you may take to protect others around you, particularly in situations where the recommended physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as public transit.

Wearing a non-medical mask will not prevent you from getting sick. However, it is another way of covering your mouth and nose to prevent your respiratory droplets from contaminating others or landing on surfaces.

People should also be aware that masks can become contaminated on the outside or when touched by hands.

  • Avoid moving the mask around or adjusting it often.
  • Masks should not be shared with others.

Perform hand hygiene after putting on or taking off a mask.

If you are experiencing respiratory symptoms such as cough or difficulty breathing, you should wear a surgical mask when seeking medical care at a health facility. If possible, please phone the facility prior to attending. If you are going to a health care facility for treatment, are experiencing respiratory symptoms and do not have a mask, ask for one at the admission desk and one will be provided to you.

For Caregivers in the Home

If HealthLine 811, public health officials or your healthcare provider have advised you to self-isolate, you may be cared for at home.

If you are providing care to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 at home, it's recommended to keep distant from an affected individual as much as possible. Hand hygiene should be performed frequently, preferably using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. Wear a surgical mask when in the same room with the affected individual and dispose of the mask immediately after use. Hand hygiene should also be performed following removal of the mask. Eye protection is also recommended.

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7. Effects of COVID-19 on Animals

Experiences and research over the last several months have identified some animal species with varying susceptibility to infection with COVID-19. Mustelids, such as ferrets and mink, appear most susceptible and infection can result in severe clinical symptoms and death, as evidenced by current outbreaks on mink farms in the Netherlands, Denmark and the United States. The mink outbreaks have resulted in infection of at least two people, which is the only documented evidence of animal-to-human transmission of the virus. Felines, such as house cats and tigers, are also susceptible to infection; most seem to be asymptomatic although cases of comparatively mild clinical symptoms have been identified. The virus will transmit among feline populations but is not known to spread from cats to humans. Hamsters can also become infected, and the virus will spread amongst hamster populations. Infection in dogs has been documented less frequently, with confirmation of clinical disease in only one case to date and no evidence of spread between animals.

It is considered very unlikely that an animal would be a source of infection for humans. To date, all reports of animals becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 are believed to be cases of human-to-animal transmission, usually from an infected owner to their pet dog or cat. If any person has COVID-19 symptoms or is self-isolating due to contact with a COVID-19 case, they should follow similar recommendations around their animals, as they would around people in these circumstances:

  • Avoid close contact (petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, sharing food) with their animals during their illness.
    • Practise good handwashing and avoid coughing and sneezing on animals.
  • If possible, have another member of their household care for their animals.
    • If this is not possible, they should always wash their hands before and after touching their animals, their food and supplies.
  • Restrict their animal's contact with other people and animals outside the household until their illness is resolved or they are no longer required by public health to self-isolate (approximately 14 days).
    • Cats should remain indoors at all times.
    • Dogs should be kept on a leash or within a private fenced area when taken outside for elimination activities, and kept away from other animals and people.

An additional risk to animals is what will happen to them if their owners become ill and are unable to take care of them. You can help reduce these concerns by planning for your pet's care in advance. This includes identifying a family member or friend who will care for your animals if you become ill or are hospitalized. Animal owners should also keep crates, food, and extra supplies on hand in case you are required to stay home for an extended period of time. As always, help protect your animals by making sure all their vaccinations are up to date and that pets have a collar and identification tag. This will help ensure your pet is returned home safely, should it need to be moved from your home because you are unable to care for it yourself.

Livestock and poultry producers have similar concerns about caring for their animals if they or their staff become ill. Producers should be having discussions with their families and employees about who can help care for the animals should someone become ill. Producers should also arrange alternatives for animal care when employees are sick or required to self-isolate for a period of time. Planning should include identifying the minimum level of care that is necessary to maintain the health and welfare of the animals, and making arrangements in advance with friends, family or neighbours for getting a "helping hand" when needed.

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