COVID-19 variants remain a concern as health measures ease in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan is moving through its reopening plan as more people continue to get their first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

However, health experts want people to remain vigilant and be aware of the spreading of COVID-19 variants of concern. There have been 6,417 confirmed Alpha variant cases so far in the province.

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Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) head clinical microbiologist Dr. Joseph Blondeau says while it’s fantastic the provincial government goals are being met for vaccinations, the virus will not just up and disappear.

“Yes summer is here, yes we all want to get back to normal, we want to be outside, we want to be socializing, all those things we have been restricted from doing,” Blondeau said.

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Blondeau says with restrictions easing, there will be some resemblance of normalcy in life similar to pre-pandemic. He says it will be important for people to choose who they socialize with wisely.

“I think if you are going to be gathering with a group of people, it’s important to know who is vaccinated and who is not vaccinated,” Blondeau said.

On Sunday, the Saskatchewan government announced over 70 per cent of people aged 18 and older had received their first shot, and just under 70 per cent for those over the age of 12.

All remaining health measures in Saskatchewan will be lifted on July 11, it was announced Sunday.

“As we are now so close to the final threshold, we are able to announce that Step 3 will be fully implemented on Sunday, July 11,” Premier Scott Moe said in a statement Sunday.

That includes the lifting of the provincewide public masking mandate and no limits on gathering and event sizes.

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Blondeau said people need to remember that being fully vaccinated gives a person a higher chance of not becoming infected with COVID-19 and any of its variants. As of Sunday, there were 11,971 variants detected by screening in Saskatchewan.

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Blondeau says the higher the number of people getting both of their shots will decrease the number of COVID-19 cases and lower the chances of any variant spread and infection.

“If we could get to 100 per cent of people fully vaccinated, COVID cases would drop drastically, even to few cases,” he said.

“I still think we need to be careful going forward as individuals to protect ourselves and our families.

“The more people getting immunized the faster we can put this pandemic behind us.”

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan’s top doctor describes behaviour, actions in a post-pandemic world' Saskatchewan’s top doctor describes behaviour, actions in a post-pandemic world

Saskatchewan’s top doctor describes behaviour, actions in a post-pandemic world

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