We have reached our number one news story of 2020 and it is an event that continues to shape our lives even today, the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 12, it was announced that the first case of COVID-19 had arrived in Saskatchewan from a person who had travelled to Egypt, and immediately guidelines were put in place with no gathering over 250 people.

In-class teaching at schools would be suspended, the US-Canada border would be closed and on March 18 Saskatchewan declared a State of Emergency.

By March 20, public gatherings had been limited to no more than 25 people and non-essential businesses were ordered to close including bars, nightclubs, and restaurants with the exception of takeout and delivery.

By the end of March, gathering sizes were once again lowered to 10 people or less and Saskatchewan recorded its first two COVID-related deaths.

Premier Scott Moe would address the province on April 22 to announce the Reopen Saskatchewan Plan, a phased approach to get businesses up and running again.

Phase 1 through 3 were implemented from May 1 to June 8.

By June 17, the province took a step back as outbreaks were declared to several Hutterite colonies throughout Saskatchewan.

Despite the outbreaks, Phase 4 of the Reopen Saskatchewan Plan began on June 22.

On Aug. 4, the province announced its Safe School plan to get students back in the classrooms and in-class learning resumed on Sept. 8.

Moose Jaw was not immune to the spread of the virus. Outbreaks were declared in November at Central Collegiate, the Thunder Creek Pork Plant, Providence Place care home, and Chateau St. Michael's care home.

The highest number of new cases in one day was 439 on Nov. 21 and the highest number of deaths in a single day was 11.

Our Christmas was like no other, as no visitors were allowed outside of immediate household members to celebrate the holiday.

As for Tuesday, there are still over 3,000 active cases of the COVID-19 in the province, but the first vaccines were administered in late December.

To this day, we are still wearing masks in public, social distancing, and rigorously washing our hands to control the spread.

It's a virus that didn't discriminate and no one was immune. Yorkton's Kathy Ziglo was a multi-time amateur golf champion who contracted the virus and ended up in intensive care. Ziglo talked about the symptoms.

"I had no energy. I was coughing, severely dehydrated and it was determined that I should call the ambulance and head to the hospital on Saturday. By the time they came - my oxygen levels had started to tank. I didn't have any feeling in my extremities, my feet, and my hands. I was struggling to breathe. They had tubes in my nose and an oxygen mask, and at the time said they were providing me with 100 per cent plus of oxygen, but my levels were still dropping."

Ziglo continued about just how serious her situation was.

"Everything was going so quickly; I just didn't understand what was going on.

"There were these two pieces of paper on the wall and each had four screws holding them up, so I just started counting 'one breathe, two breathe, three breathe'. I just kept going around and around, and within two hours my stats actually went up 10 per cent. I asked the nurse if I could have more time before being intubated. So, they checked my vitals and for the next 48 hours. I counted these eight screws. I didn't sleep. I just stared at the wall.

"I was scared. All of my energy was going into literally learning how to breathe. I would get caught up and I wouldn't be able to take a breath, I wouldn't know how and I was gasping, choking. Things were getting very dire, very quickly."

 

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