SHA Announces changes to management of COVID-19 and PCR testing

The Saskatchewan government says that Omicron wave requires a shift in how the Saskatchewan Health Authority is managing response to the virus.
Saskatchewan residents are equipped with vaccinations and at home rapid tests – two tools Chief Medical Health Officer Saquib Shahab says are essential in fighting the 5th wave.
Going forward PCR testing will also be primarily limited to those considered “at risk” of serious illness due to COVID-19.
Chief Medical Health Officer Saqib Shahab says that PCR testing will require contacting the 811 HeathLine.
Shahab adds that beginning February 7, COVID case reporting will move to a weekly basis. “It’s important to look at the past seven days, the seven day average and so that approach will continue to inform and just the health system and public health, but the public also in terms of weekly reporting.”
The response to handle COVID will continue to evolve according to Shahab. He noted that Saskatchewan will likely continue peak case numbers over the next couple of weeks before they go down.
In a video posted to social media February 2nd – Premier Scott Moe teased more restrictions being removed in the coming days, saying ” We need to end calls for daily government intrusion into our lives and skepticism regarding anything remotely positive as related to COVID. This perpetual state of crisis is having a harmful impact on everyone.”
The Premier also said that “COVID zero” is not achievable, going on to say COVID-19 is something we will need to learn to live with.
The Provincial NDP responded to the announcement from the Saskatchewan government about the shift in strategy with disappointment.
NDP Leader Ryan Meili says now is not the time to transition since the province is still dealing with the fifth wave of the pandemic. “Our hospitalizations are at the highest number they have been since the beginning of the pandemic, the number of people dying every day is growing.”
Political pressure is the motivation for making the decision to transition COVID strategy said Meili, he added that Premier Moe is facing similar pressure that Erin O’Toole faced within the Conservative Party. “Great political waves afoot that are influencing Scott Moe’s behaviour far more than the science far more than the health of Saskatchewan people, this is about Scott Moe’s own political scheme not about your lives and mine.”
The role of Dr. Shahab is another item that concerns Meili. He says the Shahab has less authority compared to his provincial counterparts. “I think he is in extremely important position to lead both public opinion as well as the decisions that are made.”

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