Chief Medical Health Officer Says Fourth Wave Not Over Yet

Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer says although the COVID-19 case numbers are trending downward, that doesn’t mean the fourth wave of the pandemic is over. He explains that every hundred cases generates five admissions to the hospital, one ICU admission and up to one death. While discharges from the hospital are larger than admissions, Dr. Saqib Shahab says it will take awhile for the health system to fully stabilize. The current set of public health restrictions are set to expire in a matter of days, but it’s expected they will be extended until at least the end of the year. Dr. Shahab recommends masks continue for indoor public settings until March.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority reports that over 9,900 pediatric vaccine appointments were booked in a two hour span this morning. Dr. Shahab says he doesn’t understand the refusal to get vaccinated by a small minority of teens and adults in Saskatchewan. He notes the fourth wave has been quite tragic for the unvaccinated with parents getting ill and in some cases dying.

More SHA staff are back in their original jobs. The President of the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency says the SHA has exceeded its goal of 75 per cent of eligible staff redeployed by November 19th, and was at 79 per cent by that date.

Of the 395 services slowed because of the COVID-19 surge, 193 have completely resumed and 68 are partially resumed. Marlo Pritchard adds that surgical services are increasing. He notes that surgical volumes in Prince Albert, Lloydminster, Melfort, Nipawin, Humboldt, Estevan, Weyburn, Kindersley, and Rosetown are all operating at 100 per cent. Third party surgical providers are operating at more than 100 per cent, and Pritchard adds that the SHA continues to work at increasing volumes at all other surgical sites.

Pritchard also updated the deployment of COVID-19 rapid tests, saying that between November 2nd and the 19th, the province received over 2.2-million COVID-19 rapid test kits. From that number, 650,000 were for the Saskatchewan Health Authority, 560,00 for indigenous Services Canada and for the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority. Marlo Pritchard says the SPSA distributed over 304,000 rapid test kits in that same time period, and orders and being placed and shipped daily.

The SPSA continues to look at new distribution sites. Currently, there are 92, of which 87 have stock and the remaining five have orders on the way. Pritchard adds that more public distribution sites are reported daily. The SPSA’s rapid test kit distribution directly supports vulnerable populations in congregate living, schools and daycares, public safety agencies such as police and fire, and the general public through the distribution sites.

(CKRM)

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