As mandatory masking expands to communities with a population of over 5,000 from Monday, November 16th, more Saskatchewan residents will have to wear masks when indoors.
From Monday, licensed liquor companies will have to stop drinking alcohol by 10pm and end consumption by 11pm. Hookah lounges have to close.
According to the re-open Saskatchewan guidelines, gyms and fitness centers may be open, but group aerobic classes are limited to 8 people and they must be able to maintain a distance of at least three meters between them. If that distance cannot be maintained, they will also have to be closed.
“Our case numbers are still slightly lower than our neighboring states, but make no mistake, our case numbers, our hospitalization numbers, the number of patients in the ICU – all are going in the wrong direction,” Health Minister Paul Merriman told a news conference.
“We need to work now to make sure they don’t grow too high, to the level we saw next door.”
Saskatchewan schools with at least 600 students are also set to become the third tier in the Province Safe Schools plan on Monday. That level reduces the amount of class learning.
Merriman said the new measures will be in effect for 28 days or four weeks, after which they will be reviewed by Chief Medical Health Officer Dr Saqib Shahab.
Shahab said Friday that Saskatchewan had an average of 120 COVID-19 cases per day, and the province was currently at that time when it was necessary to consider limited public health measures to limit the spread of the virus.
Another 111 new COVID cases were announced Thursday in Saskatchewan, pushing the total number of active cases to 1,459. Thursday marked the sixth day in a row that at least 100 new cases have been announced.
Four more are being treated at the hospital for COVID-19, bringing the total number of hospitals to 53. Shahab announced on Friday that 15 people are now in intensive care.
Shahab said that although most cases in this province are among the youth, the elderly are still affected and this is reflected in the hospital.
Shahab said Saskatchewan residents should also limit the number of their contacts outside their home.
On top of the usual messages like physical distance and staying sick, Shahab recommends wearing a mask in indoor public places, avoiding unnecessary social gatherings and one person shopping for every home.
“If we all do that, the curve will bend. You don’t need big lockdowns. You don’t even have a slow decline in the financial sector,” he said.
“But if we all do these things we can avoid it. If some of us do – if we all do.”
SHA to reopen emergency operation center
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) announced on Thursday that it was reopening its emergency operations center. At a news conference on Friday, SHA CEO Scott Livingstone told reporters that it would be fully operational by the beginning of next week.
The reopening of the emergency operation center has resulted in a “significant increase” [COVID-19] The cases and hospitals we saw last week, “said Livingstone, who joined the meeting by phone.
“We hope we continue to look at high case numbers and we need to reactivate. [emergency operation centre] Send a signal to strengthen our coordination across the organization and mobilize resources within our teams. ”
There are no planned “across-board” service slowdowns on the horizon, Livingstone said, but there will be a reduction in targeted localized services.
He said this would be done “where absolutely necessary” to re-employ staff to deal with COVID-19 while maintaining essential services.
Livingstone COVID-19 is now in provincial hospitals, especially in Saskatoon, where increased intensive care unit (ICU) admissions have forced the hospital to expand its ICU capacity.
“We have to think about some of these difficult decisions, to respond to the spread, or the shift or the resources, to meet the demands of the tests or the consultation,” he said.
“None of our COVID surge plans guarantee a big growth in our system cases and an affiliate hospital. That is why our ability to meet demand rests with the people.”
Dr. Susan Shaw, SHA’s Chief Medical Officer and Critical Care Physician, taught every Saskatchewan resident to follow the mask command and other public health messages, limit social contacts and stop abusing contact tracers.
“People say they are experiencing COVID fatigue and are therefore becoming more relaxed about the guidelines, actions and limitations that people follow,” she says.
“I’m tired too. Our doctors and staff are tired too, yet we’re here to make sure the system is there for you when you need it.”
Anyone who is opposed to wearing a mask or following public health rules is welcome in commercial spaces with a series of health care workers before dealing with patients and families, Shaw said.
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