REGINA -- Saskatchewan should implement a short lockdown to get a grip on rising cases of COVID-19, according to a professor.

Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine, a professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine, said the short shutdown would allow the province to catch up on contact tracing, testing and isolation regimes.  

“A circuit breaker type of a lockdown right now in this province is probably the best way to go forward to buy us some time in order to get our capacity up and running again,” he said on Monday.  

Over the weekend, the province said it’s considering further precautionary measures to deal with the influx of cases.

So far, it has introduced some restrictions and has urged people to be mindful.

Further, Muhajarine said Saskatchewan’s social bubbles have broken down ever since the province decided businesses and schools could re-open.

He said these bubbles have been harder to maintain with more people going out and increasing their number of contacts.  

“It breaks down when we open up schools, open up gyms, or when we are circulating in the community,” Muhajarine said. “It’s broken down because [someone] might have actually interacted with people who were not in your social bubble.”

Social bubbles contain a small group of people who regularly see each other. The bubbles get larger or pop when people in that group begin to see others outside the circle.

In Saskatchewan, people were once able to have 30 people in their homes as long as everyone was social distancing.

But with COVID-19 cases on the rise, the province has reduced that number to 10 people.

Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab has urged people to keep the number of people in their home below 10.

 “In my living room where I could have 12 I can’t have more than four people two metres apart. It’s just not possible,” Shahab said on Friday.  

As for people’s extended household, it should be made of 15 people or fewer, according to the government’s website.

Shahab is encouraging people to connect virtually, similar to the start of the pandemic.