Even though COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in most settings such as restaurants and gyms, hospitals are still under siege as the virus continues to circulate and affect people.
Here in Moose Jaw, COVID-19 is still actively putting a lot of pressure on the health care system within the city and is still noticeable.
Throughout the pandemic, Dr. Brandon Thorpe, Department Lead for Family Practice (Southwest Region) of the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) was providing updates to the media and public regarding the COVID-19 situation in the area.
Last week in an interview with 800 CHAB radio personality Rob Carnie, he spoke about the current COVID-19 situation at the Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital.
“In Moose Jaw at the present time we’re ok, there’s still a significant presence of COVID but we’re managing at this point,” says Thorpe.
COVID-19 continues to put a lot of stress on the whole workforce at the Dr. F. H. Wigmore Regional Hospital.
“We’re not out of it just yet. There still are staff that get sick and have to take time off and, unfortunately, the pressure of the workload has been very high. Human resources and labour are still something we’re working on,” adds Dr. Thorpe.
Currently, the guidelines to enter the hospital are to wear a medical-grade face mask and wash your hands as you enter the facility. Patient visiting hours are unrestricted at this time. Those heading to the Lab or X-Ray portion of the hospital maybe be asked to take a COVID-19 screening questionnaire.
Last week, the province released more information on their four-point healthcare action plan with the goal to recruit, train, incentivize, and retain workers, including nurses and physicians.
Over the next several years, the Government of Saskatchewan will invest over $60 million in this four-point action plan.
“That’s very encouraging that the Ministry [of Health] is listening to the leaders in healthcare and the need to boost our nursing supply across the province,” says Thorpe.
Thorpe explained the fact that vaccination has been working amongst people against COVID-19 and its various sub-variants.
“If you look at the data and statistics patients who’ve been vaccinated have had a much milder course. There are some new variations with the vaccines and more in the pipeline that may include variants not just related to the Delta and Alpha variants, but also the Omicron variant now.”
Moderna’s newest COVID-19 vaccine covers the older variants but also protects people against Omicron BA.1, which could create more immunity against the virus.
On August 15, the fourth dose eligibility expanded to those aged 18 years of age and older as long as they received their first booster dose three months ago or longer.
Then on August 31, those aged five to eleven years old were eligible to get their third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Health authorities recommend that kids wait at least four months after getting their second dose to get their third dose. Immunocompromised children aged five to eleven years may have already received their third dose. They may now receive an additional dose four months following their third dose, as well.
Moose Jaw is hosting a number of COVID-19 booster clinics this month, check the full list out here.