What impacts will Thanksgiving weekend gatherings have on Saskatchewan's 4th COVID wave?

WATCH: Recent numbers suggest the fourth wave may have hit its peak in Saskatchewan, however, the weekend's Thanksgiving gatherings could change that.

Canada’s recent COVID-19 statistics suggest the fourth wave may have reached its peak.

However, health experts are worried that gatherings over the Thanksgiving long weekend may result in more COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Saskatchewan.

“We’re literally right at the cusp at this particular point,” said Dr. Alex Wong, an infectious disease physician based in Regina. “Our curves are stubbornly not coming down as of yet, so it is definitely worrisome.”

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Highest COVID-19 ICU patients to date as Saskatchewan adds 2 deaths

It was Thanksgiving weekend of 2020 when the second wave of COVID-19 arrived, but with hospitals under strain and dozens dying every week as of late, experts say there is a lot more at stake.

Wong suggested a lack of additional measures and restrictions in the province mean it’s difficult to get a sense of what will happen in the next seven to 14 days from now in terms of a surge in COVID-19 cases.

“I think right now the key thing is our ICU capacity,” said Wong. “We’re at a point literally where we’re probably a few patients away from having to trigger significant measures in terms of having to take patients out of the province.”

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He noted how he and others have been calling on the provincial government to reinstate key measures such as indoor restrictions in order to reduce COVID-19 numbers.

Wong added that there needs to be an expansion of COVID-19 testing sites and tracing.

“Public health is days to weeks behind with contact tracing. It’s to the point where it’s not even necessarily all that consequential depending where you are in the province, but it’s a huge piece to try and get things under control more quickly.”

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According to the latest COVID-19 data from the prairies, people are dying in Alberta at three times Canada’s national per capita rate.

In Saskatchewan, the death rate is over four times higher.

– files from Heather Yourex-West

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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