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Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says his government remains concerned about significant pressures on health care as the province reported 506 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday for the first time in the pandemic.

It was the second consecutive day the province broke a single-day record case count.

“These case rates and the subsequent severe outcomes continue to be driven by those who have made the choice not to get vaccinated,” Moe said in a statement.

The Premier, saying he believes it is a personal choice, has previously said his Saskatchewan Party government will not make vaccines mandatory. Last week, he said the government would not bring back a mask mandate.

Moe said he continues to consult with Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, about any steps moving forward.

“As we have previously stated, enacting additional measures have not been ruled out,” he said.

There were two additional deaths reported Tuesday from COVID-19 and 225 people were in hospital, 43 of them in intensive care.

The province also said that about 20 per cent of cases were in children under 12, who are not eligible to be vaccinated, but they were not in an ICU.

Last week, the Saskatchewan Health Authority activated a plan to reduce elective surgeries to free up staff, mainly to care for unvaccinated patients in hospital with the virus.

On Monday, the government signed an emergency order which gives it the power to redistribute staff to areas that are facing pressures from COVID-19.

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