“We’re not there:” Sask. Doctors Say COVID-19 Restrictions Must Stay Through Vacation

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Premier Scott Moe recently raised the possibility of lifting some of the restrictions on gatherings during the holiday season, if it is safe to do so.
But some Saskatchewan doctors are sounding the alarm bells – not the Christmas bells – about the rising number of cases.

At a town hall meeting of doctors last week, Dr. Julie Kryzanowski, senior medical officer of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, said the current trajectory puts Saskatchewan on track to have 14,000 COVID-19 cases by now. mid-December.

As of Tuesday, there have been 8,745 cases to date, of which 3,819 are considered active.

Kryzanowski is also concerned about the possibility of undercounting active cases at this point in the pandemic.

“When we’re growing exponentially, we know that active cases are just the tip of the iceberg, and we know there’s a huge iceberg underwater that represents undiagnosed cases,” he said. she declared.

“It’s also increasing exponentially, and we have momentum behind the growth in cases that are increasingly difficult to correct. ”

According to models presented by Senior Medical Information Officer Dr Jenny Basran, patients with COVID-19 could soon represent half of all available hospital beds – and this situation is expected to last until spring.

By January, there may not be enough ventilators in Saskatchewan’s ICUs for all the patients who need them, the models suggest.

Skip this Christmas so the family can be there next year: doctor

Kyle Anderson, an assistant professor at the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine, says Moe’s comments on lifting the restrictions do not reflect the reality of where the pandemic is heading. He fears that this type of thinking will lead to a false sense of security.

“People will think things are going to change, because the Prime Minister needs to have the most up-to-date information, and he will guide us with the best medical advice,” Anderson said. “In that case, there is no way you can claim that the best medical advice would allow us to start easing things up. We are not there. ”

Anderson hopes residents will remember that much of community transmission is caused by people who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. In many cases, these people did not even go for a COVID test because they do not feel sick.

“These are the people who are spreading it to other people,” Anderson said. “They’re going to play hockey. They go to a restaurant. They are going to have dinner alone with a friend. They are in close contact, unmasked, because they think they are safe. ”

If more people are allowed to gather for the holidays, more people will unknowingly pass the virus on to their families and loved ones at a time when the hospital system is already overburdened.

“The only way we can try to make sure we don’t make it worse over Christmas is to say, just like we told the kids on Halloween, that we’re skipping this year,” Anderson said. “We can skip this vacation. Having someone here at Christmas is more important than going to see them this Christmas. ”

In search of loopholes

As the number of cases in the province continues to rise despite new public health measures, doctors are calling for greater public awareness and clarity on why some things are allowed and others not.

At the public meeting, Moose Jaw’s family doctor Brandon Thorpe said the uncertainty is causing some people to look for loopholes.

“I hear all kinds of roundabout ways of how people comply with the new rules,” he said.

“The joke is, ‘I’m going to have a funeral for my turkey on Christmas Day with 30 people in a restaurant.’ So … I just think the presentations by Mr. Moe and [Chief Medical Health Officer] Dr. [Saqib] Shahab’s actions are not enough. They are too vague and do not provide enough education. ”

In order for the government to promote an effective public health message at this point, everyone must present a clear and united front, Anderson said.

“Education is one of the biggest things we can do to get ourselves out of this mess, and I think the government is dropping the ball on that,” he said.

“They don’t consistently get the message out about what we need to do to actually be successful in this pandemic. They say, “Well, maybe if you could, it would be nice if some people would. That’s really not the message people need right now. ”

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