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Old 03-11-2021, 01:31 PM
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Default Easing of Sask. COVID-19 restrictions sows public confusion, premier defends decision

Easing of Sask. COVID-19 restrictions sows public confusion, premier defends decision | CBC News

Mickey Djuric ยท CBC News

Saskatchewan's premier is defending the decision to ease public health restrictions as the number of known cases of COVID-19 variants continue to rise in the province.


Premier Scott Moe and Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab. (Michael Bell/The Canadian Press)
Saskatchewan's premier is defending the decision to ease public health restrictions as the number of known cases of COVID-19 variants rises in the province.
On Tuesday, Saskatchewan announced households can create a bubble of up to 10 people for indoor gatherings, citing a recent overall decline of known active cases.
Chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab cautioned that only those in need of social support should create bubbles.
"For those people who don't need that right now, this is not the time to start having your bubble expand," Shahab said during Tuesday's provincial update on COVID-19.
"For most of us, we should not change anything, and if anything, we should pay more attention."
Shahab's advice has sparked people to express confusion on social media.
Today's COVID press conference is the most confusing I've ever heard-for reasons that remain unclear, the cap on household visits is being raised today to 10 while Dr. Shahab keeps saying we "need to remain very cautious"- this "mixed messaging" is troublesome
Premier says he's comfortable with province's trajectory

Moe told CBC's Saskatoon Morning that the easing of restrictions "was a good day and really a pivot to what will be better days ahead."
The premier said the arrival of more COVID-19 vaccine doses is one reason the province is able to relax restrictions.
"I'm comfortable with the trajectory that the Saskatchewan numbers are heading on and where they continue to go. I'm comfortable with the number of vaccines that we have received thus far and also are going to receive in the next couple of weeks," Moe said.


12:16Premier Scott Moe interview on the instantaneous rule relaxation from Tuesday

The government announced yesterday that you can now expand your household bubble. The relaxed rules come as Saskatchewan leads the country with the highest rate of active cases per capita. Host Leisha Grebinski speaks with Premier Scott Moe. 12:16 To date, about six per cent of Saskatchewan residents have received their first shot. Shahab said it takes up to three weeks to develop effective immunity against the virus.
Saskatchewan continues to have the highest rate of active cases per capita across Canada.
As of publication time, the province has 120 cases per 100,000 people, compared to the national average of 79 cases per 100,000 people.Saskatchewan has confirmed 70 known cases of COVID-19 variants, with the majority of them being in Regina.
Shahab said Tuesday that now is the time to "double down" on our measures "to try to delay as much as possible from variants of concern becoming the main strain."
Shahab said the variants are 50 to 70 per cent more transmissible and result in hospitalizations for younger age groups.
"Immunization is coming up, cases are coming down. This is exactly the time we can't let our guard down in the next two months," Shahab said.


'Premature and unwise'

Dr. Dennis Kendel, former registrar of the province's college of physicians and surgeons, criticized the government's approach, calling the decision to ease restrictions "premature and unwise."
"Just because the fields may be snow-free in mid-March doesn't mean you go out and plant crops, because the crops will be at very high risk of freezing when they come up," Kendel said on CBC's Morning Edition.


The Morning Edition - Sask6:50Former Registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons weighs in on loosening of COVID-19 restrictions

As cases in the province have gone down, Regina's numbers continue to rise. 28 cases have been confirmed as a COVID-19 variant. Despite that, some restrictions on gatherings have been lifted.. 6:50 He said that with case numbers rising in Regina, the province's decision is particularly worrisome.
"If we're going to follow policies that are province-wide, then you have to be sensitive to where the highest risk is," Kendel said.
"Maybe at a minimum, Regina should have been kept under the current controls, even if some other areas were relaxed."


With files from CBC's Saskatoon Morning and Morning Edition.

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