Sask. looks to avoid 5th wave as holiday season approaches
Even as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations decline in the province, health officials say it’s not time to ease up on public health guidelines as they look to avoid a post-holiday season fifth wave.
November modelling numbers from the Saskatchewan Health Authority show how hospitalizations could look in one month.
Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province’s chief medical health officer said continued low mixing behaviour by the public and a slow immunization waning trajectory could result in sustainable numbers in the new year.
(Source: Government of Saskatchewan)
“We have to do everything to avoid scenario number one which is a fifth wave any time in January or February, and stay the course ideally letting our ICU and acute care centres come down really low by January,” he said.
COVID-19 admissions are trending downward in Saskatchewan hospitals. Daily admissions are down 29 per cent in the last two weeks and ICU admissions are down 41 per cent. Saskatchewan remains first among Canadian provinces in hospitalizations and ICU admissions per 100,000 people.
To maintain the downward trends, Shahab said restrictions will likely remain in place through the holiday season. Additional measures are not on the table at this time.
Last week Shahab recommended small gatherings over the holidays and said while it may feel odd, residents are advised to wear masks.
Saskatchewan's health minister says vaccine uptake will be the key to avoiding a fifth wave.
“I think we’re still in around 2,000 vaccines per day, first and second dose,” Paul Merriman said. “We need to increase that. It’s going to jump up when the Johnson & Johnson, and the children are eligible.”
Some of Saskatchewan’s rural communities reported lower than anticipated vaccination uptake, according to the latest COVID-19 modelling.