'We have been abandoned': Sask. doctor slams Moe's Quebec comparison

The Omicron COVID-19 variant has been spreading rapidly but Saskatchewan hospitals have not yet felt its full effects.

Over the past two weeks, cases in hospital and intensive care have nearly doubled, with the province reporting 1,000 cases nearly every day.

Cory Neudorf, interim senior medical health officer with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, says those numbers will keep climbing.

“We haven't seen the impact of this 1,000 plus cases a day on the system,” said Neudorf.

“Hospitalizations tend to lag cases by about two weeks or so and then ICU admissions lag cases by another week or two.”

Neudorf says the province could eventually lean on other provinces for help like it did during the Delta wave.

“It does seem that way. There is some inevitability to that increasing pressure that's going to come.”

According to Neudorf, Omicron is less severe than the Delta variant but spreads more rapidly. From the information, he has been provided it attacks people's nose and throat and the first part of the bronchus. It's less likely than Delta to cause pneumonia.

Neudorf says health experts are still learning more about Omicron and some people who contract it could have a different experience. He notes that the lower down the virus goes in a person's system, the worse it is for their body. It hits the unvaccinated harder.

Neudorf says the province should consider implementing gathering size limits or cancelling large events.

In a press release, Premier Scott Moe said new restrictions won’t be implemented.

"Saskatchewan's rate of COVID-19 related deaths in January is the lowest of any province and 90 per cent below the national rate of 4.8 per 100,000 population. It is worth noting that Quebec, with the most severe lockdown measures in Canada, has the highest COVID-19 fatality rate in Canada in January and one of the highest current rates in the world."

Infectious disease physician Dr. Alexander Wong says this isn't an accurate comparison.

"We're just a few weeks behind where they are — of course we're not as bad as they are. We're not in the same place in the Omicron wave as they are," he said.

In the release, Moe said his government "sees no clear evidence that lockdown measures have reduced hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths in other provinces."

"As a health care provider and as a frontline health care provider, and speaking for many of my colleagues, it is exhausting and completely disappointing to feel that we have been abandoned this way by our elected officials," said Wong.