An Open Letter to the People of Saskatchewan from your Community Medical Health Officers in Saskatchewan
On Monday, March 29, 2021, the Province of Saskatchewan launched a campaign titled
Stick It To COVID aimed at encouraging Saskatchewan residents to get their COVID-19 vaccine when it’s their turn.
One of the most important things we can ask you to do is get vaccinated. The vaccines available are safe, effective and they will save countless lives. They are also part of our path back to normalcy. But for some, the effect of the vaccines will not come soon enough. Unless we take all of our other public health precautions seriously in the days ahead, some will not survive to see those normal days.
Vaccinations won’t be enough. As a result of the more harmful variants of the COVID-19 virus, we are seeing a dramatic rise in cases circulating in some communities. These Variants of Concern spread faster and make people sicker. In the areas where they are most prevalent, like Regina, Moose Jaw and the southeast, they send more and more young people to hospital and are filling up our intensive care units.
This is highly concerning, especially as we approach Easter break.
Transmission between households is one of the top causes of COVID transmission. Holiday travel has the potential to carry the virus around the province. We typically see case surges post holidays. Easter brings us to another tipping point.
It is more critical now than ever to follow public health orders, which are the law, and other guidelines around physical distancing, limiting your bubble, wearing a mask in public, washing your hands regularly, and staying isolated and getting tested as soon as possible if you’re sick. We must all do this to get through this pandemic.
following public health orders is the bare minimum you should be doing. Like driving through a bad snow storm, the risks are too great if we hurtle along at the speed limit oblivious to the icy roads and reduced visibility that threaten to plunge us into the ditch. So have a plan to protect yourself and those you love. Plan virtual gatherings, meals and game nights. It’s like planning to drive taking into account the road conditions.
We are asking you to ask yourself: “Just because I can do it, should I do it?”
That means avoiding non-essential travel to anywhere outside your home community, putting off that Easter family gathering until next year, ordering in rather than dining out, leaving a shop you feel is uncomfortably crowded or sacrificing a visit from a loved one to ensure you, and they, stay safe. For those in the Regina area, these are things you are currently doing under the public health order and others could follow suit if we aren’t more diligent. We know when a prairie storm worsens, roads get closed. That has already started to happen in Regina; let’s keep the storm from worsening elsewhere.
In the days ahead, sticking it to COVID shouldn’t just mean getting your vaccine when it’s available, but also fighting it with all the tools in your tool box. As you imagine what normal looks like, imagine it with one fewer family member beside you. Imagine the next Roughrider game or music festival without your best friend along to clap and cheer. That’s what’s at stake.
Because if we don’t Stick it to COVID now, not all of us will be around to celebrate defeating it later.
Have a happy, safe and physically distant Easter break.
Sincerely,Your Community Medical Officers of Health in Saskatchewan
Dr. Ashok Chhetri, MD, MPH
Medical Health Officer – YorktonSaskatchewan Health Authority
Dr. Khami ChokaniPopulation and Public Health Physician Consultant & Medical Health Officer - Prince AlbertSaskatchewan Health Authority
Dr Tania Diener, MBChB, MMed (Com Health), MPA, DTM, MFTM RCPS (Glasg)Medical Health Officer – Area Lead ReginaCOVID-19 Immunization Co-Chief, Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)Saskatchewan Health Authority
Dr. Jasmine Hasselback, MD, FRCPCMedical Health Officer and Saskatoon Area Public Health and Preventive Medicine Department Lead – SaskatoonSaskatchewan Health Authority
Dr. Maurice Hennink, MB, ChB, M.Med. ( Comm Health ).Medical Health Officer – ReginaSaskatchewan Health Authority
Dr. James Irvine, MD, FRCPCConsultant Medical Health Officer – Far NorthNorthern Saskatchewan Population Health UnitSaskatchewan Health Authority
Dr. Simon Kapaj, MD MPH FRCPC FACPMMedical Health Officer – SaskatoonSaskatchewan Health Authority
Dr. Moliehi Khaketla, FRCPCMedical Health Officer – Far NorthNorthern Saskatchewan Population Health UnitSaskatchewan Health Authority and Athabasca Health Authority
Dr. Ibrahim KhanRegional Medical Health OfficerFirst Nations Inuit Health Branch-Sask Region, Indigenous Services Canada, Government of Canada
Dr. Mohammad A. Khan, MBBS, MPH, MBA, MHSc (Bioethics), DPA, SWC(C)Medical Health Officer – MelfortSaskatchewan Health Authority
Dr. Julie KryzanowskiSenior Medical Health Officer – Saskatoon Saskatchewan Health Authority
Dr. ‘Lanre Medu, MBBS, FRCPCMedical Health Officer – ReginaSaskatchewan Health Authority
Dr. Cory Neudorf, MD, MHSc, FRCPCAcademic Lead, Medical Health Officer – SaskatoonSaskatchewan Health Authority
Dr. Nnamdi NdubukaMedical Health Officer – Prince AlbertNorthern Inter-Tribal Health Authority Inc.
Dr. Mandiangu NsunguMedical Health Officer – North BattlefordArea Department Lead, Public Health & Preventive Medicine, NorthSaskatchewan Health Authority
Dr. Johnmark OpondoMedical Health Officer / Covid-19 Pandemic Offensive Strategy Co-Chief for the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) – SaskatoonSaskatchewan Health Authority
Dr. Rosemarie RamsinghDeputy Medical Health OfficerFirst Nations Inuit Health Branch-Sask Region, Indigenous Services Canada, Government of Canada
Dr. Isaac SobolMedical Health Officer – Far NorthNorthern Saskatchewan Population Health UnitSaskatchewan Health Authority and Athabasca Health Authority
Dr. Hortense Nsoh Tabien, MD, MPH, PhDPublic Health Physician and Medical Health Officer – Saskatoon
Saskatchewan Health Authority
Dr. David TorrMedical Health Officer and Area Department Lead Public Health and Preventative Medicine – RuralSaskatchewan Health Authority