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Saskatchewan premier hints at easing some COVID-19 restrictions early

Premier Scott Moe said he has had discussions with Dr. Saqib Shahab, who wants to see new cases and hospitalizations stabilize before easing restrictions. Michael Bell / The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe hinted at easing some of the current public health measures that are in place to stem the spread of COVID-19.

The current measures, including a restriction on household gatherings, are set to expire on March 19.

Read more: Saskatchewan extends COVID-19 public health measures until March 19

Moe said he has had discussions with Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province’s chief medical health officer, who wants to see new cases and hospitalizations stabilize for a few more days.

“If that occurs, we should have more to say about household restrictions, possibly by early next week,” Moe said.

“I’m asking everyone in the province to hang tight for just a few more days.”

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Read more: 91% of Saskatchewan long-term care residents receive first COVID-19 vaccine dose

Shahab said there are metrics he is watching as he works toward his decision.

The first is the continued downward trend in daily case numbers.

“Case numbers are trending down. They are at about 11.8 per 100,000,” Shahab said.

“So we really want them to continue trending down, preferably below 10 and ideally below five.”

Read more: Saskatchewan government updates COVID-19 guidelines for sports practices

The second is testing and contact tracing. Shahab said testing is critical going forward, and while the current testing rates are good, he said they could be better.

Shahab also cautioned that people need to stay home if they have any COVID-19 symptoms.

“We’ve had a few reports that people continue to work, while symptomatic, that resulted in a work outbreak in the workplace,” he said.

“Once bubbles are allowed, we need to make sure we don’t go out and be unwell and we seek testing.”

Moe said the province is on the path back to normal as case numbers drop and more people are vaccinated.

“But we’re just not quite there yet,” he said.

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“Keep doing what you’re doing to keep yourself safe, to keep those around you safe and to keep your family safe.”

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