Saskatchewan’s top doctor is asking residents to limit their contact with people to the essentials and not have gatherings.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Saqib Shahab said staying away from gatherings was essential to stop the spread of the highly contagious variant of Omicron.
“We have to do everything to blunt the tide. Now is not the time for any gathering. You have to do the basics, which is going to work and going to school. But otherwise, no. ‘have no contact with anyone outside of your home,’ Shahab said at a press conference Thursday.
The province still does not enforce official collection restrictions, as other provinces have, despite the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Meanwhile, videos showing high school kids partying without masks and up close on New Years Eve, as well as videos of adults at nightclubs, are being shared on social media across the province. They are fueling some frustration among the residents of Saskatchewan.
â€œI have received a few reports of house parties that are very busy and have resulted in secondary transmission in schools,â€ Shahab said.
Shahab said he had not received much information about transmissions related to the New Year celebrations.
â€œI think the next two to four weeks we really have to be really careful. I would say that the government is relying on the public to do the right thing, and most of us are doing it. But if a proportion important does not, it means that, unfortunately, the government should consider more stringent measures. “
Shahab said the Omicron is less serious than other COVID-19 variants, but by no means something residents should ignore.
“Absolutely, I think a single significant transmission event at this time can generate hundreds of cases in that event, which in one week can lead to thousands of cases because the doubling time was three to four days.” , did he declare.
“So in two to three weeks, a single poorly planned and not recommended event can lead to thousands of cases which, once they impact unvaccinated, older, frail and compromised people, will lead to increased hospitalizations. “
In a statement to the CBC, the province said it will not impose collection limits starting Thursday.
“But as the Prime Minister said, he does not rule out new measures in the coming days if necessary,” the statement read.
Pandemic fatigue in young people
Saskatoon child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Tamara Hinz and assistant professor in the University of Saskatchewan’s faculty of medicine, said she found the photos of high school students partying crammed into a room shocking .
“We’re so unaccustomed to seeing people so closely packed together and so many bodies in one space … And so I think my immediate visceral reaction was sort of shocked and horrified by the potential for COVID transmission in a gathering like that, â€Hinz said.
“But shortly after, my second reaction was, based on our current regulations and laws, that these kids and the parents who let them go, if they knew about the party, technically didn’t have anything. hurts.
“And I think it makes it look like it’s a really uncomfortable contrast, that it instinctively feels so dangerous and wrong.”
Hinz said it is important for people to look to their government and other forms of authority for direction in terms of what is currently safe and what they should be allowed to do as the pandemic is raging.
She said many experts like her are calling for reasonable limits to protect people. Meanwhile, many young people are suffering from fatigue from the pandemic, she said.
â€œMost teens are inherently social beings. It’s really an important part of adolescent development to be with their peers. And so there will be this natural willingness to get together with friends,â€ Hinz said. .
“It’s difficult for all of us. But the younger you are, the greater the proportion of your life that this pandemic has had. So I certainly don’t blame the children for feeling the lingering effects.”
Hinz said children’s mental health should be a priority and that’s part of why kids should be in school.
â€œBut that cannot happen if the virus is not controlled to unleash in our communities. So to keep schools safe, we have to keep our communities safe. And allow massive gatherings of close contacts like this one. – this will not do. “
Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili said he was disappointed to see parties indoors, without masks and with many crowded together.
“This is obviously not in line with what public health would recommend. But let’s be clear: we can’t expect adolescents to lead the way when adults won’t,” Meili said.
“When you have a government that downplays the importance of it by saying, ‘don’t worry, it’s sweet, it’s not serious, it’s not happening here yet’, that’s what happens . People don’t take it seriously and especially the younger and immature ones will react that way. “
CBC reached out to Regina Public Schools and the Regina Catholic School Division about the alleged parties, and they said they could not comment on the events not sanctioned by the school.