REGINA – Ten months after the start of the pandemic and Saskatchewan is experiencing its worst COVID-19 numbers to date.
“Think of every different metric or every sort of light on the dashboard that might go off right now, really each of them shows we’re in crisis,” Dr. Kyle Anderson, professor of biomedicine at the University from Saskatchewan, said.
Saskatchewan’s seven-day average for daily COVID-19 has doubled in the past 13 days. The weekly average fell to 152 on December 30, but it has risen every day since, reaching an all-time high of 307.
The province has seen more than 300 cases per day for four consecutive days, which is the longest period of the pandemic.
“Our incidents are over 25 per 100,000 a day and many jurisdictions mark this as kind of a tipping point,” Anderson said. “Above 25 things should stop, you should consider lockouts when you hit that point. ”
Saskatchewan has also reached an all-time high in hospitalizations with 197 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized. Eight more people died from the virus on Monday, bringing the total to 44 since January 1.
As of Monday, 412 new cases were reported in the province, from 2,611 tests performed, representing a test positivity rate of 15.78%.
The weekly average test positivity is 11.68%.
“That means there are probably a lot of cases that we haven’t identified that are sort of right out there in the general public,” Anderson said.
“In general, we would like [the test positivity] be below 5% to be sure we’re getting most cases. ”
While other provinces have been stranded over the holiday season, Saskatchewan has chosen to limit household gatherings but allowed restaurants, bars and stores to remain open.
Anderson said that doesn’t seem to have worked for the province.
“We don’t want to be second, we want to try to get ahead and at the moment it really looks like we need tighter restrictions,” he said.
Anderson added that a key part of the tightening of restrictions would also be education to explain to people why this is necessary.
“We need to get more encouragement from the population, saying it’s not going to be forever, it’s not like a year ago when we said we were going to lock down and we have no idea of when this is going to end, ”he said.
The number of active cases in Regina and Saskatoon has remained stable between 500 and 600 since peaking in early December.
The North and Far North regions have seen their number of cases climb to dangerous levels in recent weeks, according to Anderson.
Currently, 51 percent of the province’s 3,735 active cases are in the six zones that make up these two regions.
“In the Northwest, Northeast, Center-North and Far Northwest, all these areas have twice as many incidents as Saskatoon and Regina currently have, then the Far Northeast. and the Far North-Center are about five to six times higher, ”he said.
“The North and the Far North are in maximum crisis, this is where they will overload their health systems. ”
VACCINE START GETS SPEED AFTER A SLOW START
COVID-19 vaccines continue to be the light at the end of the tunnel and Saskatchewan’s vaccine count is increasing after a slow start to the rollout.
Saskatchewan has performed an average of 670 vaccinations per day over the past week, bringing the total number of vaccines given to 8,948 so far.
The Saskatchewan Nurses Union (SUN) fears the pace remains too slow.
“They cannot go ahead and get the number of people we need to get vaccinated,” said SUN President Tracy Zambory. “A great day in Saskatchewan would be if the vaccination refrigerator was empty because we were able to vaccinate everyone. ”
The province said Monday it had received advice from Pfizer that will allow them to start using the vaccine in long-term care and personal care homes, as well as clinics, starting immediately in Prince Albert. .