A doctor, who is also an epidemiologist and acting senior medical health official for the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), said that more restrictions will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.
But the lack of restrictions will continue to flood hospitals with patients, he warned.
“If nothing is done, we could be in this sustained pressure on our healthcare system and potentially collapse between now and January,” said Dr. Cory Neudorf.
Saskatchewan Health Advisers Call For More COVID-19 Restrictions, Again
On October 21, Saskatchewan health medical officials, who advise government leaders, wrote a letter to Health Minister Paul Merriman calling for more restrictions.
The letter was made public Monday night.
In it, doctors are convening meetings in private indoor settings for 28 days, although the severity depends on the vaccination status of the home.
Among other things, doctors say venues for events like weddings and funerals should cut capacity to a quarter, unless they only allow fully vaccinated and masked people to enter.
They also say that more places should check the status of vaccines, and all places should only check the status of vaccines, saying that a negative COVID test is not enough.
Sask. Residents may soon be able to receive COVID-19 vaccines at the doctor’s office.
As recently as the day before, Prime Minister Scott Moe declared that he would impose no more restrictions and told a room of business leaders that it is unfair to restrict the freedoms of a population that is mostly vaccinated. He later referred to the collection of size limits as “provisional measures.”
Neudorf said that is exactly what a health system in crisis requires.
He also stressed that the measures are temporary and said that companies can and should continue to operate, as long as they do so with the necessary precautions.
“You don’t need to make this a false dichotomy of the economy or a response to the pandemic,” he said.
“But (what) we want to do is make sure the healthcare system is available to people when they need it.”
The provincial government has not enacted any new measures since October 21, when health officials sent the letter.
In a statement Tuesday, a government spokesman said his response is forthcoming.
The official opposition accused Moe of putting politics before people’s lives.
“This is a prime minister who looked at the information, received advice from health experts and chose to go his own way,” said NDP leader Ryan Meili.
“And as a result, hundreds of people have died.”
Saskatchewan Orders 112K Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Ages 5-11
Neudorf said the province’s reliance on vaccines alone was frustrating.
“Even if everyone who is not vaccinated came to get vaccinated today, they still have to get two doses and wait a few weeks after the second dose before it takes effect,” he said.
Modeling for COVID-19 cases, from the Public Health Agency of Canada and presented at SHA physician councils, previously showed the surge now spilling out of hospitals.
Last Friday, the province’s director of medical health, Dr. Saqib Shahab, told reporters that the province has a trend on the high side of the projections.
The trajectory is still going to get worse.
Neudorf said he hopes the government will listen this time.
Health officials sent another letter in August. The government enacted some of the recommendations, but only a few weeks later.
“We will see continued combustion of this wave at a high level and continued pressure on our system for the next foreseeable months,” he said.
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