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Local Medical Officer of Health encourages proactive steps to fight COVID-19 variants

The Medical Officer of Health who oversees Lloydminster is encouraging people to take precautions as the area sees an increase in COVID-19 variant cases.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority previously issued a caution about COVID-19 variant cases increasing in the Lloydminster area earlier this week. In a phone call with MyLloydminsterNow, Dr. Mandiangu Nsungu, who is the Medical Officer of Health for the Northwest Saskatchewan reason, broke down those stats for Lloydminster.

He says that since the SHA started testing for COVID-19 variants, they’ve found a total of 18 variant cases in the city. Of those cases, he explains, 13 are considered active and five have recovered. He says a point of concern that they’ve run into is that seven of these active cases were found on the afternoon of April 8th, after the advisory was sent out.

“We wanted the community of Lloydminster to be aware of this because if all of us take the precautions, and do the public health measures that are being recommended, it is still possible to slow down the spread of these variants of concern.”

Nsungu says while this version of the virus is more serious and transmittable than the original COVID-19 virus, residents can take simple steps to keep the numbers down.

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People should keep washing up and sanitizing, physically distancing, masking up and keeping household bubbles small. He also strongly urged people to stay home if they’re sick so as to stop the spread. Nsungu also resumed a call for people to avoid inter-provincial travel whenever possible.

“When we look at the situation in Lloydminster, we know for sure that in many cases, the very initial cases of variants [of] concern in all the clusters that we’re dealing with in Lloydminster, in those cases the infections took place through interprovincial travel.”

While the City of Regina, which is grappling with COVID-19 variants currently, has been bumped back to stricter COVID-19 restrictions, Nsungu does not believe they are on the horizon for Lloydminster yet, but residents taking these mitigating steps can help ensure it won’t be.

“We are not at that stage as yet, and that’s why we are drawing the attention of residents of Lloydminster, now that the problem is still small but growing. We’re calling the attention of the residents so that we can put in place those [ current existing] measures I’ve been talking about, hopefully, so that we don’t reach the level that Regina is at now. ”

While vaccination also continues to ramp up, Nsungu also is calling on people to get the vaccine whenever it’s available to them. Even when someone is vaccinated, they should continue following the guidelines for the time being.

“For the vaccination, really, to be able to stop the pandemic, it will be necessary for us for us to vaccinate a very high portion of the population, and that will take time.”

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