The central zone experienced a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases Thursday, rising from 454 to 508 active cases over the past 24 hours, with 10 people in hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Saskatchewan reported its largest one-day increase in COVID-19 deaths on Saturday

REGINA — Saskatchewan reported its largest one-day increase in COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began on Saturday, while police fined protesters opposed to public health measures to contain the pandemic.

Police said a man and a woman who they identified as organizers of an “anti-mask rally/convoy” in Regina on Saturday were each ticketed for contravention of public health orders relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tickets each carried a $2,800 fine.

“We understand the emotion and anxiety caused by this event we also have families. Together, we will get through this time,” the Regina Police Service said in a news release announcing the tickets.

Police warned earlier in the day they would be monitoring the convoy as it entered the city and convened at the legislature grounds, stating they had been in touch with organizers and expected attendees to comply with current public health orders.

Currently, outdoor public and private gatherings in Saskatchewan with more than 30 people are prohibited.

Police said their role at the event would be to maintain peace and ensure public safety.

“We will have numerous officers present to monitor the event and remind the public that every citizen has the right to peaceful protest,” the police statement from earlier Saturday said.

The man and woman who were ticketed were from from Saskatoon and Deer Valley respectively, police said.

The province said in its daily COVID-19 update on Saturday that 11 people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus had died, setting a record for the most deaths linked to the virus in a single day in Saskatchewan.

The province also reported 274 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.

There are nearly 120 people in hospital in Saskatchewan with COVID-19, with 23 in intensive care.

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