Regina Hotspot for COVID-19 Variants of Concern

·2 min read

The March 16, 2021 update from Premier Moe and Dr. Shahab, revealed that while the COVID-19 case numbers are trending downward in the rest of the province, in the Queen City the opposite is occurring, and the dominant strain is presumptively the B.1.1.7 strain that was first identified in the United Kingdom. Regina has become the provincial hotspot for the virus. In response, the Government of Saskatchewan has decided to extend the current health orders to April 5 and has issued a recommendation that people not travel to Regina and area unless necessary. The previously announced changes to relax the guidelines around worship services, will go forward with the exception of Regina and surrounding areas where the 30 person limit will stay in place. Dr. Shahab further recommended that people in Regina should continue to work from home or resume working from home if possible, restrict the number of places they visit, order take out and curbside pick-up, and that individuals over the age of 50 should carefully consider and assess their risk before expanding their bubble. The B.1.1.7 variant is 70% more transmissible than the original virus. Both the Premier and Dr. Shahab encouraged the people of Regina and surrounding areas to be extremely vigilant in the precautions that have proved so successful in mitigating the transmission of the virus over the past year. Premier Moe said today that all the AstraZenica vaccine has been diverted to Regina at this point to ramp up the vaccination campaign there.

Premier Moe repeatedly encouraged people of Saskatchewan to book an appointment to get vaccinated as soon as they are able. Dr. Shahab would like to see a 75% to 85% uptake of the vaccine. The online booking system is, the Premier said, working well, the hiccup that the Saskatchewan Health Authority is having to deal with is the sudden announcement from Moderna that the shipment scheduled to arrive in Canada next week is going to be 70% smaller than originally announced. The Premier did not reveal whether there was any explanation for the shortage or not, but merely stated that those shorted vaccines would be shipped in following week. The SHA is currently going through the vaccine appointments that have already been booked to see which appointments will need to be rescheduled to align with the availability of vaccine.

Premier Moe said that we are in a “cautiously optimistic” time. The vaccines are arriving and people are receiving their “shots in the arm” and with the weather turning to more spring like conditions, people can get outside where of course the risk of transmission is less.

Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder