COVID numbers going down, but Shahab still encouraging indoor mask use until March, 2022

The Saskatchewan government is indicating that case numbers have improved enough to send more Saskatchewan Health Authority workers back to their original positions.

President of the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency Marlo Pritchard says more workers than expected have been able to go back to their original positions.

“As of Nov. 19, 79 percent of eligible Saskatchewan Health Authority staff who were redeployed to help address the COVID-19 case surge have returned to their home positions — exceeding the 75 percent target set for this date earlier in November.”

While cases are continuing their downward trend, Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab, we are not out of the fourth wave quite yet.

“Even though our case numbers are lower, every 100 cases generate five hospitalizations, one ICU admission and unfortunately, up to one death,” Dr. Shahab said. “We already see that in an ongoing fashion while our discharges are larger than our admissions, it will take a long time for our health system to fully stabilize.”

Dr. Shahab recommends masks continue to be worn in indoor public settings until March of 2022. His comments come as the current set of restrictions are set to expire in a matter of days, but they will likely be extended until at least the end of 2021.

Appointments are now being booked for the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages five to 11. The first doses of that vaccine will be administered Wednesday.

That being said, Dr. Shahab says he still doesn’t understand the refusal to get vaccinated by a small minority of teens and adults in Saskatchewan, adding the fourth wave proved to be quite tragic for the unvaccinated.

“(With) young, middle-aged parents falling ill and in some cases dying, it’s still hard to understand why a significant minority remains unvaccinated,” Dr. Shahab said. “I think even with a small proportion of the population unvaccinated — as I showed in the modelling last week — we can still see significant surges.”

From 8:30 AM until 1:00 PM, over 12,000 bookings were made according to Health Minister Paul Merriman in Question Period Tuesday afternoon. Around 45,000 bookings are available.

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