More young people in Saskatchewan ‘sicker than ever’ as COVID-19 cases rise: medical professionals

New data shows nearly 800 kids under 12 in Saskatchewan tested positive for COVID-19 last month.

That’s a number pediatrician Dr. Ayisha Kurji said she fears will only grow as those too young to be vaccinated go back to school.

“The more kids that we have catching COVID-19, the more likely we are to have kids who are going to need to be in the hospital, who are going to get really sick, who might need the ICU, might pass away, might suffer from long COVID,” she said.

Read more: 793 Saskatchewan kids under 12 contracted COVID-19 in August, report shows

She said being unmasked in crowded places indoors is a significant risk factor.

“Most kids still do well with COVID, even if it is the Delta variant,” Kurji said.

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“But as our numbers of infections go up, those go up,” Kurji said, adding she expects to see more children getting severely ill and needing to go to hospitals and ICUs as cases rise.

Click to play video: '‘People are dying’: Protest outside Sask. health minister’s office, calling for public health measures' ‘People are dying’: Protest outside Sask. health minister’s office, calling for public health measures

‘People are dying’: Protest outside Sask. health minister’s office, calling for public health measures

Meanwhile, she said she’s heard of some children showing symptoms of long COVID.

“We don’t know what a few years is going to be like with kids who had COVID,” she explained. She said it’s important to limit how much time kids are in shared spaces indoors.

“School is priority. They should be going to school,” she said.

“But making sure we’re limiting all the other times that they’re in those sharing indoor spaces, without masks especially.”

Click to play video: '793 kids under 12 contracted COVID-19 in Sask. in August, report shows' 793 kids under 12 contracted COVID-19 in Sask. in August, report shows

793 kids under 12 contracted COVID-19 in Sask. in August, report shows

Meanwhile, some in the health-care system said they are getting overwhelmed by the number of young patients coming in with the virus.

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“We’re seeing people that are younger and they’re sicker than ever before,” said Tracy Zambory, president of the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN).

Read more: Protest outside Saskatchewan health minister’s office calls for public health measures

Zambory said many in hospital are between 20 and 40 years of age.

“The highest numbers of people ill in hospital are the unvaccinated,” she said.

“We need to have people vaccinated. People need to go and get that done. But we also need from the government the reintroduction of those public health orders.”

Read more: Prince Albert, Sask. brings in mask mandate as of Sept. 10

The union said it wants mandatory masking brought back for public spaces.

In an emailed statement Wednesday, the province said it’s working with the Saskatchewan health authority to monitor the COVID-19 situation.

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