Sask. premier hints at lifting restrictions as COVID-19 cases begin to crest
Saskatchewan’s premier is hinting some COVID-19 restrictions could soon be lifted, saying current measures may have run their course.
Scott Moe made the comments while speaking to radio host John Gormley on 980 CJME Wednesday morning.
“In the next number of days, you’ll see some further communication around the existing public health orders or the existing restrictions we have in place and, in particular, those that are impacting our youth,” Moe said on the radio.
Specifically, the premier said officials would look at ending the close contact isolation requirements that keep students out of extra-curricular activities, adding the proof of vaccination requirement has also likely run its course.
“The goal is to remove all of these restrictions when we are able,” Moe said.
“It’s time for us, as a government, to manage COVID as we move forward, and it’s time for us, as a society, to understand that we are going to be living with COVID for some period of time,” Moe said.
Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, said proof of vaccination requirements worked well during the Delta wave, but now things are more “complex,” partly because a double dose of vaccine is not as effective against the Omicron variant.
“The data is clear that getting boosted is critical to further reduce your risk of severe outcomes, which is hospitalization,” Dr. Shahab said.
Shahab said jurisdictions across the country are at a point where they must decide to either update proof of vaccination requirements to include booster doses, or remove the requirements altogether if the Omicron surge dissipates. He said the decision is ultimately up to the government and how officials choose to navigate through the current surge.
“We have to change our policies and orders to adjust for changing realities,” said Shahab, who pointed to the recent reduction of the self-isolation period as an example of adjusting to the times.
“What we plan for two months from now certainly needs to be discussed.”
While doctors say a booster dose offers the best protection against Omicron, Dr. Satchan Takaya said two doses still minimize the impacts. For that reason, she said proof of vaccination plays an important role in controlling a surge in hospitalizations.
“We know that those people that progress to severe disease are those that are not vaccinated yet, Dr. Takaya said.
“Proof of vaccination still has a lot of value as long as the vaccine continues to work for the variants that we are facing and it continues to work right now.”
Instead of removing the vaccine requirements, epidemiologist Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine said the government should be expanding its definition of fully vaccinated to include booster doses.
While vaccination requirements are a temporary policy, Muhajarine said they should not be lifted until at least 85 per cent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated. As of Wednesday, 79 per cent of those five years and older had received their second dose.
“Lifting restrictions should not be driven by a calendar date,” Muhajarine said.
“I don’t think we are anywhere near putting Omicron behind us yet.”
The current public health order is set to expire at the end of February.
Muhajarine said the government should outline the metrics it is using to determine when restrictions will be removed. He suggests measures should remain in place until case numbers consistently drop over a two-week period, hospitalizations decrease and hospital capacity is sustainable.
“Musings from the premier about lifting restrictions are a grave concern,” Muhajarine said.
According to Dr. Shahab, test positivity shows case numbers are cresting and could peak later this week.
In the next two to four weeks, we should start to see case numbers decline. However, hospitalizations will continue to rise in that time period.
In the short term, Dr. Shahab said we need to “stay the course,” which includes limiting non-essential contacts.
“Even though we’re cresting and starting to come down, if we relax everything right away we will just rebound and that would not be good at all,” Shahab said.covid restruIn the long term, as we move forward, Dr. Shahab said Saskatchewan and other jurisdictions will have to find the best way to navigate out of the pandemic.
Regina Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
The white gunman accused of massacring 10 Black people in a racist rampage at a Buffalo supermarket planned to keep killing if he had escaped the scene, the police commissioner said Monday, as the possibility of federal hate crime or domestic terror charges loomed.
Pierre Poilievre is denouncing the 'white replacement theory' believed to be a motive for a mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., as 'ugly and disgusting hate-mongering.'
A former police officer, the 86-year-old mother of Buffalo's former fire commissioner, and a grandmother who fed the needy for decades were among those killed in a racist attack by a gunman on Saturday in a Buffalo grocery store. Three people were also wounded.
Facing daily instances of violence and abuse, gender diverse people in the Canadian prison system say they are forced to take measures into their own hands to secure their safety.
A racist ideology seeping from the internet's fringes into the mainstream is being investigated as a motivating factor in the supermarket shooting that killed 10 people in Buffalo, New York. Most of the victims were Black.
'Aquaman' actor Amber Heard told jurors in a defamation case on Monday that she filed for divorce from Johnny Depp in 2016 because she worried she would not survive physical abuse by him.
More than 260 Ukrainian fighters, including some who are badly wounded, were evacuated Monday from a steel plant in the ruined city of Mariupol and taken to areas under Russia's control, the Ukrainian military said.
The rising cost of fuel is complicating the nearly month-long search for a missing Saskatchewan boy continues.
Saskatoon Police Service says all of the 189 contact interviews conducted by its officers last year complied with policy.
Former Sask. Party MLA turned Independent Nadine Wilson and former federal Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz are both involved with the 'Saskatchewan United' movement.
With the heavy rain Winnipeg has received, many homeowners are finding cracks in their foundations undetected during the previous two years of drought.
Friends and colleagues are remembering David Milgaard, a justice advocate who died over the weekend.
Some busy beavers have been taking a toll on a Winnipeg neighbourhood's tree canopy, prompting a group of residents to work with the city to save the trees.
Calgary police said in a statement issued Monday they have identified a suspect wanted in an incident that resulted in the death of a Calgary mother of five.
Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk weren't even born the last time the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but they still understand how much the Battle of Alberta means to fans of both teams.
The Calgary Chamber of Commerce says each playoff game in the city brings in about $3 million in revenue.
The Alberta man accused of first-degree murder in the deaths of a 24-year-old woman and her 16-month-old child is due in court on Monday.
Starting Tuesday, eligible Albertans will be able to renew their driver's licences and identification cards online using the province's eServices platform.
Former Edmonton Elk Eddie Steele has been reunited with his stolen Grey Cup ring.
The Ontario election leaders' debate kicked off Monday night with Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford squaring off against Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca.
The Canada Day main stage will be at LeBreton Flats park just west of downtown Ottawa this year, not on Parliament Hill.
Western University's Northern Tornadoes Project says a landspout tornado occurred east of Ottawa during Sunday's severe weather, making it the first confirmed tornado of the 2022 season.
For now, you can just call her Chick D-22. She’s a rare Northern Spotted Owl being raised by foster parents Bella and Jay in B.C.
The B.C. SPCA has rescued dozens of cats and kittens from a Surrey home where they were allegedly subjected to “extremely unsanitary” conditions.
B.C. resident facing charges for allegedly feeding bears, coyotes for 'months': conservation officers
A resident of British Columbia could face charges for allegedly feeding bears and coyotes in West Vancouver, provincial conservation officers say.
Quebec coroner calls for independence in public health director role in final report on long-term care home deaths
The government of Quebec needs to ensure the role of the public health director is independent and without any 'political constraint,' a Quebec coroner has recommended in a final report into deaths at long-term care homes during the pandemic's first wave.
As moving season approaches, the ongoing housing crisis is on the minds of many Montrealers seeking a new place to live.
The Bloc leader said that Trudeau's Liberals should 'mind their own business' and that they were talking out of both sides of their mouth by attending the protest while saying they believe in the protection of French.
Victoria police say they arrested six youths on Friday night and two on Saturday amid a crackdown in the city's downtown core.
One of Canada's most successful Second World War flying aces, James "Stocky" Edwards of Comox, B.C., has died at the age of 100.
The City of Nanaimo is warning residents to be on the lookout after a mother bear and her two cubs were reported in two recent sightings.
The RCMP's treatment of their tactical team in the days following the April 2020 mass shooting in Nova Scotia was characterized as "absolutely disgusting" Monday during testimony before the public inquiry examining the killings.
The mother of an Indigenous woman shot by New Brunswick police in 2020 told a coroner's inquest Monday that less than two hours after she was awakened by an officer seeking her daughter's address to check on her safety, police returned with news that her daughter had been killed.
The emergency department at the Glace Bay Hospital has been closed since July of 2021, and it’s unclear when it will reopen.
Mine Mill Unifor Local 598 says staff at some of the area's long-term care facilities and nursing homes may have been exposed to cytotoxins.
The Waterloo Regional Police Service has released the name of a man they say could have information on the suspicious death of an eight-year-old boy in Cambridge.
DEVELOPING | Crash investigation underway in Kitchener
Police are at the scene of a crash on Westmount Dr. in Kitchener. CTV News cameras saw a bicycle with a bent wheel at the scene.
Tanti, 27, was stabbed during a confrontation outside a downtown Guelph bar on MacDonell Street around 2 a.m. on February 29, 2020.