We Know All The Measures

·3 min read

“We know all the measures,” Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab stated at Thursday’s press conference. What the modeling presented today showed is that the province will be lucky if we can maintain the “status quo”. The spike in cases that are resulting from the Christmas and New Year Year activities of the people of the province have pushed us into the highest per capita infection rate in the country. With 3859 active COVID-19 cases in the province, that equates to 319 active cases per 100,000 and pushes Saskatchewan ahead of Alberta at 294/100,000 and Quebec at 279/100,000. Even if the people of Saskatchewan closely follow the public health guidelines, it is possible that the number of new cases per day could jump to 900 or higher before the end of January and the rate of that growth is dependent on the degree of uptake of the public health measures. The actions taken by the people of Saskatchewan collectively will determine the outcomes and therefore unless trends change Dr. Shahab will be forced to consider more restrictions.

CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Scott Livingstone, said of the health care system that it is the most fragile that it has ever been. The health care system is stretched thin. They are trying to maintain as many services as possible so that other health needs do not get pushed aside and people begin to suffer graver outcomes from other conditions, they are fighting an uphill battle against COVID-19, and now they are trying to orchestrate a massive vaccination program. To quote from a post on YXE.MD by Dr. Emily Sullivan, “healthcare workers deserve not to be worked to the point of exhaustion and future PTSD carrying each wave of this pandemic, and countless patients lives, on their backs.”

As of today, there are 206 COVID-19 patients in the hospitals in Saskatchewan, a jump of 15 in the last two days. Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine a professor at the University of Saskatchewan in community health and epidemiology, pointed out that the trajectory of new infections has formed a steep slope. “There is a correlation, connection between more cases, more hospital beds occupied, also more ICU care needed and more deaths.” Another concerning trend for Muhajarine is the number of people dying each day, including those not living in long-term care homes and younger than 50. Since the beginning of January, 53 deaths have been reported in the province and in the 31 days since December 15, 2020 we have lost 117residents of the province to the virus. Of those who have died three were in their twenties, five were in their thirties, one in their forties, and 7 in their fifties. Just as we have become acclimatized to higher and higher daily case counts, we have become acclimatized to the announcement of deaths. As a provincial community we have stopped being saddened by the loss of a single life to this virus.

Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder