Saskatchewan. PM hints at easing COVID-19 restrictions during radio appearance

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said on a radio show Wednesday that the province is considering lifting restrictions related to COVID-19, in particular youth isolation and proof of vaccination requirements. .

But in a virtual press conference later in the day, Saskatchewan’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Saqib Shahab, said health restrictions were in place until the end of February.

Moe told CJME/CKOM radio host John Gormley on Wednesday that he expects communications from the province on COVID-19 measures affecting young people “in the coming days.”

“We know there’s close contact isolation in our schools, where kids can’t participate in extracurricular activities for a few days afterwards, that’s a restriction that’s probably run its course, and I think we going to hear Dr. Shahab speak specifically about that one and the opportunities for our young people in the coming days,” Moe said during the radio interview.

Moe also said he believed the requirement for proof of vaccination had “mostly run its course”.

“It’s increased our vaccination rates dramatically, but I think we’re getting to a point now where those who aren’t vaccinated probably won’t be,” Moe said.

He said he thinks the province needs to “have a discussion” on proof of vaccination requirements “sometime this month.”

When asked to comment on Wednesday, a government spokesman said he had nothing further to add to Moe’s comments.

“Any changes to the public health order, guidance or recommendations will be communicated through official government channels,” the spokesperson said in an email to CBC.

During a virtual Saskatchewan Provincial Emergency Operations Center press conference, Shahab reiterated that restrictions are in place until the end of February.

“So we already know what’s in place for February,” Shahab said. “But what should happen in March, April, May, I think these are recommendations that will go to the government and will be discussed, and they still haven’t moved forward at this stage. But those discussions are obviously happening on an ongoing basis. .”

Dr Saqib Shahab said discussions were ongoing on what to do in the short and long term regarding the health restrictions. (Radio Canada)

Shahab said it looks like Omicron cases are starting to increase in Saskatoon and Regina, with urban areas lagging a few weeks behind.

According to a study published Monday by the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan, samples taken from wastewater treatment plants in Saskatoon, North Battleford and Prince Albert showed a decrease in the viral load of COVID- 19 compared to previous weeks.

Shahab said hospitalizations and deaths will continue to rise over the coming weeks.

“In the short term, I think we still have to stay the course, because even if we are peaking and starting to go down, if we release everything right away, we will just bounce back and it would not be good at all. said Shahab.

“So just because we’re at the top doesn’t mean we can stop everything today.”

Dr. Satchan Takaya, an infectious disease expert with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, says evidence of vaccination restrictions has been effective in limiting the transmission of COVID-19. (Radio Canada)

Dr. Satchan Takaya, infectious disease specialist at the Saskatchewan Health Authority [SHA]said during the same update that vaccination proof requirements are having an impact.

“We know the vaccine works, so even though we have cases where even fully vaccinated people get [COVID-19]even with the boosters, those are much lower than those who are not vaccinated, and I think proof of vaccination is important in trying to control this transmission,” Takaya said.

“We also have to control the influx of hospitals, and we know that the people who progress to serious illness are those who are not yet vaccinated.”

Paxlovid available

Marlo Pritchard, president of the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency, said there were 315 people with COVID-19 in hospital, including 33 in intensive care.

He also said that Pfizer’s home COVID treatment, Paxlovid, is now available for specific groups in the province.

“Paxlovid is intended for the treatment of symptomatic COVID-19 after a positive test. It is not for the prevention of COVID-19 infection,” Pritchard said.

He said it is only recommended for adults over 18 who are symptomatic, within five days of symptom onset, and have tested positive by PCR or rapid test for COVID. -19 light or moderate.

He said those eligible to get Paxlovid include immunocompromised residents who are not fully vaccinated, or people who have a medical condition that puts them at high risk and who are not fully vaccinated.

Those who meet these criteria should call the province’s 811 HealthLine to be assessed.

Pritchard said Paxlovid will only be given when recommended by Healthline.

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