PRINCE ALBERT, SASK. -- Provincial and Indigenous health officials in northern Saskatchewan are investigating COVID-19 cases they say are linked to travel to Alberta.

A statement from the Saskatchewan Health Authority says it and the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority have begun a contact tracing investigation into new cases of the novel coronavirus in the province's north that are linked to cross-boundary travel.

The statement notes there have been reports of a number of COVID-19 cases at an oilsands facility north of Fort McMurray, Alta., although it doesn't specify whether any of the new cases in Saskatchewan are believed to be connected to that outbreak.

Because of “close connections between communities” from people who travel for work or other reasons, the statement says there is a potential for community transmission across the Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary.

The health authority says regional medical health officers are advising against all non-essential travel between northwest Saskatchewan and northern Alberta, and that all northern Saskatchewan residents self-isolate for 14 days after returning from northern Alberta.

Officials in Alberta have been tracking an outbreak at the Kearl Lake oilsands work camp north of Fort McMuray, and Alberta's chief medical officer of health said Friday the number of Alberta cases arising from that facility had risen to 12.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 18, 2020.