'Putting a mask on is a simple thing to do': Dr. Shahab encouraging mask use in public spaces
Dr. Saqib Shahab demonstrates mask use at a press conference on September 10, 2020.
REGINA -- Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer is encouraging residents to take the time to wear a mask when heading into public spaces.
"Putting a mask on is a simple thing to do," Dr. Saqib Shahab said during Thursday’s provincial COVID-19 update.
"Our health care providers have been doing this for the past seven months, our people who work in grocery stores have been doing this without complaining for the last seven months."
To wear a mask or to not wear a mask, the debate has raged on social media over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saskatchewan hasn’t made the move to make masks mandatory like Quebec and Nova Scotia or cities like Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton.
Last week, Regina City Council voted to table a motion calling for mandatory mask bylaw in the Queen City.
Dr. Shahab said he can empathize with people who have concerns about wearing masks, but added it’s about protecting others.
"What we’ve learned from other parts of the world is that if you use a mask consistently in an indoor public place, you can significantly reduce transmission without having to go into mini lockdowns," he said.
Numbers in Saskatchewan remain relatively flat with 51 new cases in the past seven days and 66 active cases as of Friday. That’s in stark contrast to Alberta and BC where active cases have moved into the thousands in recent weeks.
Sask. health officials continue to prepare for a potential second wave in the province, monitoring personal protective equipment and ventilator supplies.
"We still are tracking all of that and ensuring that regardless of what comes our way," Saskatchewan Health Authority CEO Scott Livingstone said. "We’re building capacity, preparing for a surge and unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball to know what that’s going to look, but we are actively and continue to prepare for that."
Saskatchewan has had no COVID-19 patients receiving treatment in intensive care units for the past two days. This is the first time that has happened since the first week of July and only the third time since April.