While still firmly in the grip of a global pandemic, the province’s chief medical health officer is optimistic that better times are coming despite the fact cases are still higher than he would like.
Dr. Saqib Shahab says while it is still very important to follow the guidelines put out by the government late last month—guidelines that he thinks are resulting in some improvement, it is still important to remain diligent when it comes to what has been asked of you.
“We really can’t loosen anything up until at least April, May until the majority of the population has been vaccinated.” Shahab said. ” Could we go back to where we were in October in terms of the restrictions in place there? We’ll have to see how our case numbers progress.
Provincial health minister Paul Merriman also revealed that a rollout plan for the vaccines will be announced sometime next week. As it stands right now, Saskatchewan is scheduled to get 180,000 doses from the first batch of doses from Moderna and Pfizer that the federal government has secured. Merriman says some have indicated they will not take a vaccine when one comes available which is fine to him as it won’t be forced on anyone. He says his job is to get the vaccine and when he gets it that it goes to the people who want it as quickly as possible.
Shahab also spoke about the possibility of loosening restrictions on indoor family gatherings so that more than five can attend. Shahab says it is far too early to say whether that will happen and reiterated that following the guidelines is key. He is against the idea at this time and is also against the idea of people leaving the province for Christmas or having people from other provinces come here.
On Wednesday, Saskatchewan announced 238 new cases of COVID-19 which is down from the seven-day daily average of 274. While that is encouraging, Shahab says the number of new cases to which he would feel comfortable per day is around 60 cases per day with anything higher than that being concerning.