Home » Local Doctor Reminds Residents to Re-Open in a Way That Fits Them

Local Doctor Reminds Residents to Re-Open in a Way That Fits Them

by Shanine Sealey

As of Tuesday, June 22nd, a total of 1,005,275 vaccines have been administered within the province and as of Sunday, June 20th, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that over 70 per cent of residents over the age of 18 had received their first dose and 69 per cent of all residents over the age of 12 had received their first dose, which meant that the full implementation of the Re-Open Saskatchewan Roadmap will officially occur on July 11. As of this day, all public health orders within the province will be removed, which includes the removal of the province-wide mandatory masking order and the removal of limits on events and gathering sizes.

“As we are now so close to the final threshold, we are able to announce that Step 3 will be fully implemented on Sunday, July 11,” Premier Scott Moe said. “We are able to make this announcement because so many Saskatchewan residents have done their part by getting vaccinated, so I’d like to say thanks to Saskatchewan people. Over the past 15 months, Saskatchewan residents have diligently followed public health guidelines and restrictions, and over the past months they have followed through by getting vaccinated.”

While restrictions will be lifting within the province, Doctor Allison Adamus of Martensville Collective Health and Wellness reminds residents that just because masks are not mandatory, it doesn’t mean they are banned. “Some people are not feeling safe with the changes in the restrictions, and it is important that we all be patient and kind with each other and realize that everyone is at different points in this pandemic. Some are more eager to get back to normal, and others are more cautious, so we just need to re-open in the way that fits us.”

Although these public health orders will be lifted, it is important to remember that COVID is still very much a reality and to continue being vigilant in the fight against it. The Saskatchewan Health Authority reminds residents that optimal protection against COVID-19 comes from receiving both doses of the vaccine.

Currently, all residents aged 12 and older are eligible for their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with only the Pfizer vaccine approved for ages 12-17. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are interchangeable, so SHA advises that residents who received either of these as their first dose should take whichever is available to them for their second dose, rather than wait for the same brand of vaccine. For those that received AstraZeneca as their first dose, they will have the option for any of the three options provided as their second dose.

Being fully vaccinated does not prevent you from getting COVID, or from passing COVID along to another person; however, it is there to help reduce the severity of the infection. It is also recommended to receive your second dose once available due to an increasing risk of the Delta variant.

Recently, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that if you are fully vaccinated, you may not have to isolate if you are a close contact to a positive case. Final decisions on this will be made on a case-by-case basis; however, Adamus took this news as a sign of one more way that normal life is returning. “We are starting to gain back some capacity within the healthcare system and there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Adamus said. “We may start seeing a whole lot of health care workers taking well deserved holidays soon.”

Adamus noted that right now, a major focus taking place is looking to remove any barriers that could possibly be preventing people from getting vaccinated. “There are definitely going to be people who have decided not to vaccinate, but if there are people who are wanting vaccination but are unable to get to it because of the times it is available, the locations, lack of childcare, or other various reasons, we need to be aware of that so that we can make changes to make it more attainable for those who are wanting it.” If this is something that rings true to you or someone you know, Adamus recommended mentioning your hurdle to your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

In order to provide more opportunity, additional drive-thru and walk-in clinics have been made available within the province. Information about available locations can be found at www.saskatchewan.ca/drive-thru-vax. To book an appointment online, visit saskatchewan.ca/COVID-19 vaccine or call 1-833-SASKVAX (1-833-727-5829) to book your appointment, 7 days a week, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. You can also visit www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-pharmacies to find a list of participating pharmacies.

At Martensville Collective Health and Wellness, they are looking forward to things returning to a slightly more familiar state of “normal” once again. “We have been so lucky that we have a group of people who really buckle down and get the work done, but it feels like we have been doing twice the amount of work when we need to talk to people on the phones and then bring them back into the clinic afterwards. We are looking forward to getting back to seeing patients like we used to. It has been hard to connect with people, and as family doctors, that is our biggest job, so we have felt the loss of connection just as much as everybody else and have been working extra hard to try to keep that there,” Adamus explained.

Something to keep in mind that was seen throughout the pandemic was a drastic drop in cases of the flu. Adamus noted that rates of infections have gone down this year. “It is not because these things disappeared. It is because humans have done things differently this year. We saw a huge decrease of infections and we didn’t have to use medicine to get there. We have a lot of non-pharmacological ways of controlling these infections this year with staying home when you are sick, paying attention to washing our hands, using hand sanitizer, not doing things that we don’t need to do in large crowds, so there are a lot of good lessons that we have been able to learn and watch play-out this past year that we can’t forget going forward.

Other changes this year also included an increase in mental health visits at MCHW. Although mental health visits have always been one of the top reasons for patient visits, MCHW has seen an increase in these appointments throughout the pandemic. In 2020-2021, mental health visits made up 37% of total visits, which was an increase from 18% in 2019 – pre-pandemic.

For more updates from MCHW, follow them on Facebook at ‘Martensville Collective Health and Wellness, and for up-to-date information about COVID-19 within the province, visit www.saskatchewan.ca, or for vaccination information, visit www.stickittocovid.ca. Updates from Saskatchewan Health Authority can be found at www.saskhealthauthority.ca.

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