Saskatchewan Examiner

Saskatchewan’s public health orders have been extended

Public health orders are being extended in Saskatchewan

Key takeaways:

  • Saskatchewan has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, and it is the only province that hasn’t imposed new indoor gathering limits or capacity restrictions.
  • According to Shahab, Saskatchewan is 2 to 4 weeks behind the other Canadian provinces affected by the Omicron wave.

Mandatory indoor masking, mandated self-isolation, and evidence of vaccination or negative test demands in Saskatchewan will be stretched until the end of February, but no fresh measures will be implemented.

COVID-19 case numbers in Saskatchewan are at an all-time high, and the province is the only one that hasn’t imposed new indoor gathering limits or capacity restrictions.

Hospitalizations in the province are stable, and also ICU admissions are decreasing, according to Premier Scott Moe, who added that his govt is closely monitoring the numbers.

Lockdown policies, according to Moe, are “an infringement on the rights and freedoms we value,” and there is no proof that they are sufficient.

“What we ‘re viewing in many cases, even in jurisdictions with all those forms of restrictions, and many more,” Moe said, “is that they’re not limiting the spread of Omicron.”

Also read: As COVID-19 spreads across Saskatchewan, some schools are reorganizing their staff

Dr. Saqib Shahab, the chief medical health officer, reiterated his warning from last week that residents should avoid congregating outside of work and school to avoid the fifth wave. On Wednesday, Moe told reporters that people should use their best judgment and “trust themselves” when deciding whether or not to gather.

Due to a strain on the health authority’s testing capacity, the province also advises residents who are “experiencing mild cold-like symptoms such as cough, sore throat, or sneezing without fever” not to get a PCR test.

According to the province, people should instead stay at home, use rapid antigen testing, and self-isolate.

NDP Leader Ryan Meili chastised Moe for failing to take additional steps.

“We’re on the verge of a healthcare catastrophe, and Scott Moe, the man with the power, the modeling, the public health advice, and the information to avert it, has repeatedly chosen to do nothing,” Meili stated on Wednesday.

Experts say there’s still time to avoid the looming hospital overcrowding.

Saskatchewan, according to Shahab, is 2 to 4 weeks behind the other Canadian provinces suffering from the Omicron wave.

He claims that one out of 100 people has Omicron, but that number will rise to one out of every 25 in a few weeks.

Public health orders are being extended in Saskatchewan
Public health orders are being extended in Saskatchewan. Image from Global news

The Saskatchewan Health Authority intends to launch a hospital surge plan on Thursday. As per Dr. Cory Neudorf, interim senior medical health officer with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the province has “the elegance of some advanced notice” as well as still has time to reduce case numbers by implementing programs such as private gathering limitations and canceling large events.

“What we’re hearing is that there’s a tendency to wait until hospital and ICU numbers rise before imposing any additional restrictions. That’s completely backward, “Neudorf remarked.

“We need to implement those restrictions immediately so that we don’t end up in the same situation as [overcrowded hospitals] and fall 2 to 3 weeks behind in our reply. We still can do something about it.”

Professor of community health and epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan’s college of medicine, Nazeem Muhajarine, accepted that putting restrictions in place now can help.

He claims the province will see the same level of hospitalizations and deaths as it did during the fourth wave’s peak.

Muhajarine points out that the health system will have to deal with burnt-out healthcare workers and high absenteeism to combat the current wave.

“I believe we will reach capacity not only in terms of beds occupied but also in terms of the ratio of people in need of care to people who can provide care in hospital settings,” Muhajarine predicted.

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