SASKATOON — Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark is encouraging everyone to continue practicing health protocols as cases of the Omicron variant is on the rise.
“I know there are a lot of questions about Omicron in light of the rapid rise in cases in [Saskatoon] and around the world. We just had an update with our local Medical Health Officer, Dr. [Jasmine] Hasselback, about the current state in our city and province,” said Clark, in a statement .
“We are about two-and-a-half weeks into the Omicron wave here. The next week or two will determine a lot about whether we see a rise in hospitalizations here like there have been elsewhere.”
He added that there are no news yet of an increase in hospitalization.
“So far, we have not seen the hospitalization rates here that there have been in other provinces. This is a positive sign, and it is being monitored closely.”
Clark also mentioned four ways on how residents, businesses, communities and organizations in keeping Omicron at bay like limiting contact with other people, keeping private gatherings small, and do not organize or attend large private parties.
“Get your booster shot and make sure kids get fully vaccinated – this is a key form of protection against more severe illness; don’t wear cloth masks – wear medical grade masks that fit your face well; and if you have any symptoms get a PCR test and use rapid tests as a regular check-in when you have no symptoms.”
He added that following these guidelines will make sure there’s no disruption of business operations and the delivery of services provided by the city.
“The biggest challenge is the disruption of workplaces and services because employees are getting COVID. This is why maintaining good protocols and plans for containing COVID remains very important.”
“The City of Saskatoon is doing ongoing work to ensure the ability to provide services to residents, especially critical services such as water and wastewater treatment, emergency services, and snow clearing.”
Clark reminded to take a rapid test before meeting people and rapid test kits are free and can be picked up either at the TCU Place in Downtown or any public library.
He then thanked everyone that he works with in the city and with council despite facing a year of challenges.
“While we are living in difficult times, it is important to cherish our family and friends. I am so grateful for the people I get to work with every day at the City of Saskatoon and on council. Nothing is done without a team effort and I am proud of all that we have accomplished together [last] year.”
Clark said that people should also think of all frontline workers — healthcare workers, police, fire and ambulance — as they continue serving and supporting the community especially the most vulnerable members.
“These essential service providers have been going to the limit to keep us safe, and just as things have started to settle from a very challenging 4th wave of COVID, Omicron is threatening our doorstep. I can’t imagine the exhaustion they are facing. This is a really important time to keep supporting these frontline staff. We all have to face down Omicron.”
He also encouraged residents to support local businesses and organizations providing additional services to help the needy.
“Please keep shopping locally. Put your money toward our local businesses and restaurants who have been working so hard to survive through this. Please keep supporting those organizations who are working so hard to support the most vulnerable.”
Many of us have maintained stable incomes while for many others, COVID has made life harder. We are a resilient community, I believe there is much to look forward to [this year].”