Saskatoon's deputy mayor says the COVID situation is dire

·2 min read
City council asked the provincial government to restrict gathering sizes to help deal with the rising number of COVID-19 cases, but Premier Scott Moe said the province isn't going to enforce any new restrictions. (Courtney Markewich/CBC - image credit)
City council asked the provincial government to restrict gathering sizes to help deal with the rising number of COVID-19 cases, but Premier Scott Moe said the province isn't going to enforce any new restrictions. (Courtney Markewich/CBC - image credit)

Saskatoon's Deputy Mayor Cynthia Block said the city and provincial government need to work together to address the skyrocketing number of COVID-19 cases in the city.

"The situation is dire, and it isn't getting better," Block said today. "We need to do everything we possibly can to reduce the overall risk and reduce the pressures off of healthcare folks."

Saskatoon reported 82 new cases of COVID today. There are 4,564 active COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan. In addition, 348 people are receiving care in hospitals and a record 78 people are in intensive care. Since the start of September, 130 Saskatchewan residents have died from the virus.

Saskatchewan halted its organ donation program and slowed down its non-critical and elective services in September to focus on treating people with COVID-19 and to help health-care workers cope with stress.

Despite the issues the health-care system is facing, Premier Scott Moe announced today that the province would not be enforcing any new COVID-19 restrictions.

'No more restrictions'

"The vast majority of Saskatchewan people are vaccinated and we're not going to be implementing broad-based restrictions on 80-some per cent of the population that has gone out and got their first shot," he said.

"That being said, we have significant measures that are in place."

In mid-September, the province made masking in public spaces mandatory. As of Oct. 1, public service employees in the province have had to show proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19, or provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result at least every seven days.

The province also introduced a proof of vaccination policy for people who want to enter different establishments, event venues and businesses. They either have to present their proof of vaccination, or provide a negative COVID-19 test result.

Saskatoon's Deputy Mayor Block said the provincial government should work with the city in order to address the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

The Saskatoon City Council sent a letter to the provincial government last Friday, asking them to limit the size of gatherings, but the government rejected the request.

"I look forward to seeing ... the rationale for why they are not choosing to move in this direction at this time," Block said.

The council asked the province to limit household gatherings to 15 people. They also asked to limit indoor and outdoor public gatherings to 150 people, or up to a third of a building's capacity depending on which one was less.

The council has the ability to put restrictions on city facilities like recreation centres, but cannot place restrictions on businesses and homeowners — that falls under provincial jurisdiction.

Block said since the city hasn't received an official response from the province yet.

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