Dr. Shahab recommending a hard line against visiting during Omicron spike

Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer is recommending significant visitation and event restrictions in the coming weeks in order to help curtail growing Omicron variant case numbers.

During a media briefing on Thursday afternoon Dr. Saqib Shahab advised people to only have in person gatherings if they are for specific and necessary reasons.

“My recommendation right now is do not meet anyone indoors outside your household unless it’s part of school or work. I think the next two to four weeks we really need to be very cautious,” Dr. Shahab said. “The government relies on the public actually doing the right thing. And most of us do. But if a significant proportion don’t then that means unfortunately the government would have to consider stronger measures if it’s no longer happening and the surge is out of control, threatening both the work place business community and hospitalizations.”

With a reported 913 new COVID cases on Thursday, and the potential for growing numbers in the comings days and weeks, Dr. Shahab said citizens need to start taking steps to slow the spread of Omicron.

“Right now we are entering into a phase where we can already see the writing on the wall, like in Quebec and Ontario, who have very significant measures, but have also very high transmission levels.”

“Nothing should be off the table, but the government has historically relied on the people of Saskatchewan to actually change behaviours and do the right thing. But again it will be up to government to decide whether that is sufficient or whether further measures through Public Health orders are required.”

He stated that Omicron is putting society in a different phase of the pandemic because the new variant is five to eight times more transmissible. The higher case numbers are not just going to impact hospitalizations, but it is critical for the business community to keep work going in all sectors to keep supply lines open.

“We need to do everything we can at work to minimize transmission. And both employers and employees have a role in that. But also everything we can do outside of work, and hence my recommendation that for the next two to four weeks it is certainly not a good time to have any non essential contact with anyone indoors.”

Provincial officials also highlighted the importance of rapid antigen tests and their wide availability to help with early and asymptomatic testing.

A list of locations where Rapid Antigen Testing Kits can be accessed is available at