Province Ready for Potential COVID-19 Outbreak: Chief Medical Health Officer

The province’s Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab says that the province is well prepared for a possible COVID-19 outbreak.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Shahab said that the province is expanding testing on people, not only returning from China, but other effected countries as well.

According to Shahab, there are 40 countries., like Canada, that have seen COVID-19 cases but there is no concern. He added that countries like Italy, Iran, and South Korea are countries of concern.

“If you have travelled to those countries, as well as a few other countries with larger clusters like Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong, then you are being asked to monitor symptoms for two weeks,” said Shahab. “If you become symptomatic, call HealthLine, where initial testing will be done.”

When addressing the city’s hospital capacity should there be an outbreak, Shahab said there are already precautions in place every flu season.

“We already plan for that surge every year in winter,” said Shahab. “Now we have to plan for a surge that may be a bit higher, but if it comes in spring or summer, obviously there won’t be flu to worry about. It’s part of what we do every year, just with a bit of a focus on COVID-19.”

Shahab said that the percentage of people that require care for COVID-19 is around 20 percent, with only 5 percent needing ICU care. He added that most people would be able to recover simply by staying home.

While the province may be prepared for any possible outbreak, Shahab says that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy.

“We should not underestimate that’s an easy thing to do, even in flu season it’s tough,” said Shahab. “It’ll be very tough to manage.”

As of right now, there are no cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan.


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