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COVID-19: Relaxed health measures to blame for sick kids, Saskatchewan pediatrician says

Click to play video: 'Relaxed health measures to blame for sick kids, Saskatchewan pediatrician says' Relaxed health measures to blame for sick kids, Saskatchewan pediatrician says
Pediatrician Dr. Ayisha Kurji feels the abnormal timing of the viral surge is partly to blame on the recent removal of covid-19 health measures – Apr 10, 2022

Early spring isn’t typically a strong viral season.  That’s usually saved for the winter months.

But that is exactly what Saskatchewan is seeing this year.

COVID-19 along with other respiratory illnesses are running rampant, especially among children.

The Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital is reporting all pediatric areas continue to be over capacity.

Read more: Saskatchewan NDP calls on government to do more to address children’s hospital capacity

The province’s latest COVID-19 Epidemiology Report showed that in the pre-school age range, out of every 1,000 visits to the E.R., 65 reported COVID-like illnesses.

In the school age range, that number sits at 25.

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“What’s causing us to have more kids in emerge, more kids in hospital? It’s mostly viruses. Its not the only thing, COVID is part of it but there also other ones,” says pediatrician Dr. Ayisha Kurji.

Dr. Kurji says the other viruses she’s seeing include non-COVID coronavirus, RSV and bocavirus.

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan NDP calls on government to do more to address children’s hospital capacity' Saskatchewan NDP calls on government to do more to address children’s hospital capacity
Saskatchewan NDP calls on government to do more to address children’s hospital capacity – Apr 7, 2022

She feels the abnormal timing of the viral surge can be partly blamed on the recent removal of COVID-19 health measures.

“Last year if you look at our respiratory viral season there were not a lot of other viruses. There were some but not as much as we’d typically see. Now that we’ve taken away those measures were seeing more COVID in the community and were also seeing more of those other viruses,” said the children’s doctor.

As of the beginning of March, masks were no longer mandated in Saskatchewan schools.

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Read more: Saskatchewan government spends big on health care in Budget 2022

The Saskatoon public school division says schools are experiencing higher numbers of students being away due to illness.

Child psychiatrist Dr. Tamara Hinz has noticed the increased trend in children falling ill, too.

“As a parent it felt like in the past couple of weeks things have just really exploded. I think it’s a really difficult time for kids and I really feel for teachers and schools. I can’t imagine having to plan around these types of absences,” said Hinz.

Kurji explained that with the shifting of this viral season, it’s hard to predict how it will play out but she does feel like there is something for parents and children to keep in mind.

“Whether it’s school or work, other activities, if you’re sick stay home. Choose who you are around,” Kurji said.

“If you’re in a big public place, wear your mask to prevent COVID but also the other illnesses as well.”

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