Probability of increase if COVID-19 rules are repealed before spring, Sask. say doctors

Saskatchewan Health Authority physician town hall is under pressure from intensive care units, and health care remains high despite declining COVID-19 cases.

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The threat from the COVID-19 pandemic continues despite declining numbers and hospitalizations, Saskatchewan doctors said in a presentation.

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Doctors heard at Thursday’s Saskatchewan Health Authority doctor’s town hall that removing public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 before spring is likely to result in an increase in cases.

“There is a very high probability that removal of non-pharmacological measures or procedures, such as masking and evidence of vaccination before spring, will result in a further increase,” said Dr. John Froh, Deputy Chief of Health, to the online town hall. .

Prime Minister Scott Moe suggested this week that current measures, including mandatory masks in indoor public spaces and a system requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test for some venues, are likely to remain in place over the Christmas season.

Froh said the pressure on intensive care units in the province remains high, even though the number of COVID-19 patients occupying intensive care units has fallen. The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units in Saskatchewan dropped to 39 on Friday from a pandemic peak of more than double that in mid-October.

But demand is growing for people in need of non-COVID-19 care who delayed or delayed treatment during shattered pandemic patients during the fourth wave, “and we expect this pressure to continue through December,” Froh said.

The resumption of healthcare, which was stopped to allocate resources to patients suffering from COVID-19 during the autumn, is also increasing the pressure on the healthcare system.

The province also transferred 27 intensive care patients to Ontario; 10 remain there, while 12 returned home and another five died.

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Medical healthcare professional Dr. Johnmark Opondo said that although new cases are declining, Saskatchewan’s death rate from COVID-19 remains high, more than three times the national average.

The official pandemic death rate does not take into account “excess mortality,” including deaths indirectly related to COVID-19, such as those resulting from addiction or overdoses, Opondo said.

The move from hospitalization to critical care is happening “really fast” in Saskatchewan, with half of the cases diagnosed when people arrive at the hospital, he said. This implies a delay in diagnosis once the symptoms appear.

The number of cases in fully immunized people is increasing, but the disease tends to be less severe in those with both vaccine doses, Opondo said.

“But the good news is that if you are fully vaccinated and you develop COVID, the vaccinated individuals tend to develop serious disease in sizes much smaller than those who are not immunized,” Opondo said.

“So immunization continues to protect against serious presentation or any kind of hospitalization and death.”

He said some of the new cases are traced to Halloween parties and other social gatherings, but the number of outbreaks in schools and day care centers has dropped. These outbreaks are often traced to unvaccinated teachers or adults, Opondo added.

About 360,000 people in the province are not fully vaccinated; 150,000 of them are eligible. These figures were assessed ahead of the announcement of Health Canada’s approval of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for children aged five to 11 on Friday.

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The injection of vaccines for these children in Saskatchewan is expected to begin within a day or two after the vaccines arrive in the province, Health Department spokeswoman Dale Hunter said in an email Friday. Vaccine clinics for children are planned for places such as libraries, schools, community centers and recreational facilities.

More details on the rollout for children are expected on Monday. Saskatchewan expects 112,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in the first shipment and announced some of the details in its October 26 plan.

Health Canada said in a statement Friday that their review of data from clinical trials showed that the benefits of the vaccine in children outweigh any risks.

ptank@postmedia.com

twitter.com/thinktankSK

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