Saskatchewan is the only province in the country not providing COVID-19 data to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Dr. Adam Oggiello decided that the people of Saskatchewan deserved better than a grayed out rectangle labeled “N/A” representing their province and began to do the math and photo-shopping numbers on the map themselves.
“The message, intention or not, seems to be that they want you to just move on with life and not assess the risk,” said Ogiglo, a family physician in Saskatoon.
“They have completely swayed us by not giving us data in a timely manner and a transparent way to assess those risks.”
Oggyglo’s map shared in his Facebook group “SK COVID-19 Perspectives” shows Saskatchewan leading the country in deaths per capita.
From February 6–12, 42 deaths were reported in the province, of whom 29 were 80 years of age and older.
He said that we experienced our omicron wave later than other provinces, putting us in the thick of it.
“I think Omicron is everywhere and I mean, we see it in our clinic, we see it in long-term care facilities,” Ogiglo said. “With the virus being everywhere you’re going to see the spillover effect naturally occurring in these places.”
22 new COVID-19 outbreaks were confirmed in long-term care and care home settings from February 6-12.
The biggest problem is the lack of current data, said Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism, with data that is a week or two old no longer relevant.
“When we think about decision making we no longer have data and so it seems we are going blind,” said Linda Anderson, communications employee at Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanisms.
“We have to rely on institutions to talk with residents’ families and friends about what decisions would be best in their facility, to keep track of what’s happening.”
The Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) also said that communication is the most important thing in care homes right now.
“It’s one thing to know that you won’t see your family or friends for a week or two, it’s another to be left without any idea whether it’s going to be put away for another six months.” . . . family,” said CARP Chief Operating Officer Bill VanGorder.
We have a responsibility to keep our loved ones safe, regardless of provincial mandates, VanGorder said.
“When we have a lot of people who are at high risk, we have to take more careful control about their care than with other conditions,” VanGorder said. “Saskatchewan should look after individuals and how we care for them according to their needs.”
Both organizations said a total lockdown of residents from outside is not the answer, as isolation could be even more dangerous than the virus.
With a shortage of staff in long-term care homes, this can cause problems with the quality of care. VanGorder said that many family members take care of themselves.
Andersen said keeping these residents safe falls short of balancing masking and vaccinations with facilities setting their own rules to keep residents safe.
The mask mandate in the province is set to be lifted at the end of the month, but Oggyglo thinks these restrictions should remain in place for some time.
“We all want the restrictions to be lifted, we all want to get back to normalcy, but we want to do it in the safest way possible,” he said, adding that hospitalizations are currently at a high level. .
Ogiglo encouraged people to continue wearing masks in public places even after the mandate is lifted, saying it’s important to know where we are in terms of the pandemic, we’re not in a good place right now.
“When people are assessing their risk, I want to keep in mind that the virus is at almost record high levels in many areas of the province,” Ogiglo said.