Saskatchewan modelling data released Wednesday is showing that unless COVID case numbers in the province can be reduced in the next three to four weeks, a surge is being predicted in the new year.
The province’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab in making submissions on Wednesday presented a number scenarios with varying outcomes.
“If we relax over the holidays, we will see a surge in the new year that will be unmanageable. Given current projections, our case numbers are too high for us to relax over the December holidays. This leads me to the final scenario where if we can really work hard over the next three to four weeks, to reduce the number of contacts, get vaccinated and stay home if we are sick. And if we can really push our case numbers down, it will still take several weeks for the ICU and hospital numbers to come down. But then, if we can really see that coming down over November; December, that makes for a safe holiday season and lower number of cases into the new year.”
He pointed out that outbreaks in workplaces are less than they used to be and he credited that to vaccinations and health protocols. But he said that outbreaks due to private social gatherings continue.
He noted that what policy the government adopts is up to the government, but added that people need to recognize their role.
“We can say that it’s up to government, but it’s also up to all of us and if you are not fully vaccinated, you are failing in your duty of care if you are not getting tested while you are symptomatic, irrespective of the danger to your own health, you are failing in your duty of care to others.”
Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency president Marlo Pritchard presented at Wednesday’s briefing that 84% of the eligible population had gotten a first dose and 76% were fully vaccinated having received a second dose of the vaccine.
Still Shahab pointed out that the province is at the highest case numbers that they have ever been with 246 new cases Wednesday, 322 hospitalizations and 82 COVID ICU cases. He said most of the hospitalizations in persons under 59 years were people who were unvaccinated, with 40% of hospitalizations being in people under 50 with the majority of those being unvaccinated. He is concerned that first dose vaccinations have slowed and wants to see that increased to tackle the fourth wave of COVID.
“Increases in first dose vaccinations have slowed down. And we are increasing it by less than one per cent a week, but that is not fast enough to have an impact on the fourth wave. We really need to make sure that everyone who remains unvaccianted, gets vaccinated. First dose and then second dose.”
Shahab emphasized that case numbers need to be reduced and this was a tough message.
“Unless our case numbers come down to a significant degree, well below 20 per 100,000 and then 10 per 100,000. And then hospitalizations and ICU admissions follow over the next 2-4 and 6 weeks, I would agree that we would then need to be very cautious over the holiday season. A tough message to say, but it is up to all of us to turn this around starting today.”