Checkpoints aimed at limiting spread of COVID-19 planned for northern Sask. highway

A task force established among communities in northwestern Saskatchewan to fight the spread of COVID-19 is setting up information check stops along Highway 155.

Rick Laliberte, the incident commander who oversees the region, said the information checkpoints are part of a “containment area” that’s being set up to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

The first checkpoint will be up and running on April 27 near Green Lake, he said, with three more checkpoints to be established after that.

With spring coming, the goal is to inform people about what’s deemed non-essential travel and prevent further spread of the virus into the north, or from the north, he said. 

“We’re just putting information check stops on major highways so that non-essential travel[lers] don’t come up here for no reason,” Laliberte said. 

“We know [COVID-19] is up here already, now we just got to try and contain it.” 

He said the check stops are being used in two different strategies that are being deployed in the far north to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The other part of the containment area strategy, he said, sees First Nation, Métis and non-Indigenous municipalities conducting their own variations of check stops.

He said those are being done to allow communities to track people’s movements to identify where people have been and who’s been in and out.

As of April 22, there were 16 active cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan’s far north region. The town of La Loche, which is included in that region, is in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak. The English River First Nation announced four positive cases on Tuesday. 

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