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Sask. doctor wants mandatory masks in schools during Delta-led 4th wave


A Regina infectious disease doctor wants the province and school divisions to mandate masks and other COVID-19 precautions for everyone in schools until young kids have the ability to get vaccinated.

“If your child is symptomatic do not send them to school, make arrangements to get them tested for COVID-19,” said Dr. Alexander Wong.

“And unfortunately if we let thousands or tens of thousands of kids in the province get COVID-19 there's going to be a small number of them that are going to get sick and there's going to be even a small number of them who die.”

In Canada children under 12 are the largest unvaccinated population and most at risk of contracting the Delta variant of COVID-19 in the fourth wave, he says.

“What we’re seeing in the United States is that kids are getting infected en masse at this point in time. Tens of thousands of kids,”

According to Saskatchewan Health Authority data, youth under the age of 18 were relatively unaffected from the first waves of COVID-19.

Most deaths and hospitalizations were among older adults with other health conditions.

Wong says the Delta variant is 50 - 55 per cent more contagious, making it easily transmissible in classrooms.

Dr. Ayaaz Ramji, the Saskatchewan Health Authority pediatrics lead for the northeast region, says when children return to school in the fall there’s typically an increase in virus and bacterial infection transmission from the stomach flu to colds.

He says parents shouldn’t focus on COVID-19 and recommends they pay attention to changes in their children’s health and seek medical attention accordingly.

“We’re not just looking out for one disease when we are looking at children that might be potentially infected with COVID, it’s how sick they are overall,” said Ramji.

“Does the child have laboured breathing, are they eating, are they irritable?”

Wong recommends that people living or working with children get vaccinated.

“It could be the difference between being at home with the sniffles of going to the hospital."

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