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Saskatchewan forgoes holiday COVID-19 restrictions despite dire projections

People encouraged to celebrate the holidays by gathering only in smaller groups
Saskatchewan’s Provincial Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab speaks during an update on COVID-19 at the Legislative Building in Regina on Wednesday March 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Bell

New COVID-19 projections suggest case numbers will sharply rise in Saskatchewan without stronger public health measures but the province is not expecting to tighten restrictions for the holidays.

Dr. Saqib Shahab, chief medical health officer, says he is watching the situation with the Omicron variant closely and the response must be balanced.

He says case counts are not that high in the province and Omicron is not dominant, although it is expected to spread widely in a few weeks.

Testing has identified 65 Omicron cases in the province and Shahab says two-thirds are from international or interprovincial travel.

He encourages people to celebrate the holidays by gathering only in smaller groups and using rapid tests regularly.

There are 67 new COVID-19 cases today and 98 hospitalizations.

—The Canadian Press