Sask. top doc says no more than 2-3 households should mix

Even without a provincial mandate, Saskatchewan's top doctor is urging people to keep private gatherings small and to limit mixing between households.

"I would certainly strongly recommend that this is the time when we think of all private gatherings in the home," Dr. Saqib Shahab said during a media teleconference on Monday.

Shahab is the province's chief medical health officer.

In the face of a sustained onslaught of fresh COVID-19 cases, the Saskatchewan government implemented a mandatory masking policy in September and a vaccine requirement that came into effect on Oct. 1.

However, limits on gathering sizes, like those recently requested by Saskatoon's elected officials, have so far been off the table.

Shahab said that even without a public health order, people should keep gatherings small and consistent, involving a maximum of two or three households and including only those who are fully vaccinated.

"Same goes for private events, whether it's a marriage or a funeral, keep it small, keep it safe, (wear maks) in indoor places," Shahab said.

"Only remove masks while you're eating and I recommend proof of vaccination, or negative test, even where it's not required by an order."

Shahab said that people in the province need to "remain extremely vigilant" as the weather cools off and social life again moves indoors.

There were 279 new COVID-19 cases reported on Monday with four additional deaths. Of the new reported cases, 77 per cent were identified in unvaccinated people..

As of Monday's update 335 patients were in hospital receiving treatment for COVID-19 including a record total of 85 patients in intensive care.