It will be another two months for the public health order in Saskatchewan with a reassessment at the end of January.

This as the government, Thursday along with health officials outlined their rationale and encouraged citizens to maintain the COVID health guidelines. Masking in indoor public spaces, proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test.

Premier Scott Moe commended citizens noting that 81 per cent of the eligible population was now fully vaccinated. He encouraged everyone to continue to be vigilant. He said health officials are concerned that there could be a rise in case counts as people get together over the holidays. He said there has not been an increase following Thanksgiving and as people get together over the holidays, to do so carefully being mindful of the protocols.

“If everyone continues to be diligent, continues to exercise a degree of caution and continues to go out and get vaccinated, we should be able to get together safely over the holiday season without increasing the spread of COVID-19, but it does take that extra effort, the effort that we have all been giving for the last number of weeks.”

The premier added the province was in a much better situation this Christmas season than last year as virtually no one was vaccinated last year, but now nearly 900,000 people are vaccinated.  He noted that case numbers continue to fall and he urged for ongoing vigilance.

Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab in saying that the measures have been working, echoes the sentiment of caution over the holidays.

“We have also seen how as the premier said with proof of vaccination or negative test, we have been able to have throughout the Fall, large gatherings without any evidence of significant transmission from those gatherings. This just shows, those two measures, wearing a mask and having proof of vaccination or negative test has made a remarkable difference, and I really hope that if we stay the course over December and January with the extension, we will have a safe, happy holiday season.”

Health officials are reminding that vaccination remains the best long-term protection against COVID-19 and that clinics are now giving vaccines for children five to 11 years of age. Clinic times and locations can be found on the SHA website.