COVID-19: Moe defends course after models warn of continued increase

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An infectious disease doctor says healthcare professionals don’t want containment, but limited measures to deal with the pressure on acute care.

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Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said he has no plans to restrict private gatherings indoors after a COVID-19 presentation by the province’s top public health official suggested that limiting these interactions is crucial to reducing the record number of people in intensive care.

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Moe said such restrictions are a “blunt” tool that would unfairly penalize fully vaccinated people.

“The high number of hospitalizations we have is a direct result of the vaccination rate we have in the province and the choice people have made not to get vaccinated at this time,” Moe said Wednesday.

Postmedia spoke with Moe minutes after Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Saqib Shahab finished presenting the province’s latest COVID-19 disease modeling, which suggests a 28-day reduction in social interactions as well as booster doses for some populations would slow the rate of ICU admissions. in Saskatchewan.

Such computer-simulated models are not infallible predictions, but projections based on a point in time.

The province’s intensive care units are so overwhelmed that half a dozen patients are flown to Ontario. Shahab encouraged people to limit gatherings, even if the government does not require it.

“We can say it depends on the government, but it also depends on all of us. If you are not fully immunized, you are failing in your duty of care, ”Shahab said.

Moe argued that measures such as vaccinations and rapid tests could help reduce intensive care admissions.

“If you look at the first eight or 10 months of this pandemic, public health orders were really the only tool we had to bring down COVID rates in the province. We now have a number of other tools at our disposal, ”said Moe.

Dr Alex Wong, an infectious disease specialist in Regina, said modeling shows that vaccinations alone are not enough.

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“We are not asking for a lockdown here. I think it’s extremely important, ”Wong said. “We are not asking all of society to shut down. We are asking for temporary measures to, ideally, drastically reduce close contact between different people and households so that we can reduce the amount of community transmission. “

Moe reiterated his apologies to the thousands of Saskatchewan residents whose surgeries and other procedures have been disrupted by the recent spike in cases and has taken responsibility for not implementing further measures sooner.

“We have children who for a temporary period here give up some of the therapies that I would say are very necessary for the development of these children to be all they can be. It’s unfortunate, and we take responsibility, and I take responsibility, ”Moe said.

He also praised Shahab, who became moved as he delivered the briefing as he reflected on the healthy, unvaccinated young people who have died from the disease. Moe said that Shahab has guided the province “impeccably” through the pandemic.

“I share Dr Shahab’s concern with sick people and ultimately people who die from a disease that has been shown to be largely, largely preventable just by going out and getting vaccinated,” Moe said.

NDP Opposition Leader Ryan Meili joined Moe in expressing his support for Shahab, saying doctors have expressed what many medical professionals are feeling, but that they were wrong. strongly agree with Moe’s assertion that there is no need to set limits.

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“Has he lost his mind? Meili said. “I don’t understand Scott Moe.”

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