A week ago, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe hinted that if cases and transmission continue to decline in the Prairie province, a plan could be released this week detailing what the reopening of Province.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that Moe would speak to the province on Wednesday and release the reopening plan to the public on Thursday.
Faced with spring weather, growing pressure from locked-in voters – and most importantly, slower growth rates in COVID-19 cases – premiers have started to float the idea of relaxing some of the restrictions in place.
Premier of Ontario Doug Ford has also promised British Columbia a “reopening plan.” hinted at a gradual reopening from mid-May.
On Tuesday, Saskatchewan had 320 confirmed cases of COVID-19; 64 were considered “active”. These 320 cases are spread over a population of less than 1.2 million, bringing the infection rate per 100,000 to 26, compared to higher figures in other provinces.
Cheryl Camillo, professor at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, says the small population of Saskatchewan has made a difference in their infection rate compared to the more densely populated provinces.
“One of my favorite memes I saw at the start of the pandemic was …” Saskatchewan, social distancing since 1905 “,” said Camillo. “It helps here. “
“Now none of this is cause for complacency,” Moe said last week. “But that is a reason for cautious optimism. And that means we can start thinking about what the Saskatchewan reopening process will look like. “
Provincial health officials have said new models will be released next week on Saskatchewan’s projected future, containing data on the scale of the epidemic.
What happens next remains to be seen. In recent days, new cases of COVID-19 have increased. While April 20 saw only one new case, there were four on Tuesday. On April 17, there were six new cases.
Moe’s cautious optimism last week could be more measured.
When a single new case of COVID-19 was announced on Monday, Dr. Saqib Shahab, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Saskatchewan, said, “We are able to keep the curve flat and bend it down. which is very reassuring. “
But he insisted that the new standard could indeed be very different. “Until there is an effective vaccine or treatment, or until most of us have some level of immunity, we will have to maintain a physical distance,” said Shahab.
“You just don’t know – that’s the virus problem, and that’s what makes it really difficult for the government to plan for the future,” said Camillo. “You just don’t know where it will reappear. “
With files from the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix and the Canadian Press
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