Saskatchewan's top doctor urges caution on long weekend, but isn't concerned about a spike in COVID cases

·2 min read
Dr. Saqib Shahab said it's important to still keep your distance in public camping facilities.  (@saskhiker/Instagram - image credit)
Dr. Saqib Shahab said it's important to still keep your distance in public camping facilities. (@saskhiker/Instagram - image credit)

People in Saskatchewan may gather outdoors this long weekend, despite the weather, but the province's chief medical health officer isn't too concerned.

"We've all become really well versed on how to navigate what we are able to do and enjoy in the great outdoors during the age of COVID," Dr. Saqib Shahab said at a press conference on Thursday.

People know to get tested and stay home if they are unwell, and Shahab said there isn't much evidence of the number of COVID cases spiking after the last few long weekends.

"We still are under fairly tight restrictions," he said. "I foresee no concerns over the long weekend. But again, all of us need to do our bit if out camping, or at a cabin, or just enjoying the great outdoors closer to home."

On Family Day, Feb. 15, there were 143 new cases in Saskatchewan and no seven-day average was given. Two weeks later on March 1, there were 54 new cases and the seven-day average was 143.

On Easter Monday, April 5, there were 219 new cases and there was a seven-day average of 218. Two weeks later on April 19, there were 244 new cases and there was a seven-day average of 253.

Shahab said the fact that more people are vaccinated now also helps ease concerns about cases rising around the long weekend. He hopes he won't see super spreader events, but said that small clusters may still pop up on occasion.

For people who are heading out camping during the pandemic, Shahab said it's important to do your shopping locally before heading out to reduce exposure to other people in different areas and to use precautions in any public areas.

"When you're in a common indoor area, like a washroom or a local store, wear your mask, keep physical distancing. I think those principles have worked well for us. And they will continue to work."

Shahab said he also recommends getting vaccinated as soon as possible.

"If you are at a campsite and that's where you become eligible, you could get vaccinated at the clinic near where you are at that time," he said. "Seek out a vaccination clinic where you are instead of waiting to get vaccinated when you come home."

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