For a brief time it really did appear we had a handle on the spread of COVID-19 in this country.
The initial shutdown of businesses and gathering places, from sport arenas to schools to churches had the hoped for effect in seeing numbers decline.
Here in Saskatchewan the government laid out a multi-step plan to ‘re-open’ the province. With each stage we approached something closer to the pre-pandemic norm.
With the plan working it seemed the worst might be behind us. Most of us had been careful, respected others by wearing masks and using hand sanitizer, and generally being mindful that a highly contagious disease was out there.
But, the experts were warning, even as the number of cases plateaued and then declined, that a second wave would happen this fall and winter, and it was foretold it would be worse.
Perhaps we became complacent, or the pressures of isolation got to us, or simply what we were doing was not enough once we started down the path to normal, but whatever the reason the second wave certainly appears to be here.
Monday there were 74 new cases of COVID-19 to report in Saskatchewan, and daily levels of 60-plus have been the norm for a while now, higher daily numbers than we had when the shutdown was mandated.
Monday’s cases raised the provincial total to 3,292 cases including 25 deaths related to COVID-19 have been reported to date.
It’s not particularly positive in our province.
It’s worse with our Prairie neighbours.
October proved to be Manitoba’s deadliest month yet during the COVID-19 pandemic. In just 31 days, 58 people died from the disease and nearly 3,500 Manitobans have active cases, according to a Flin Flon Reminder article online.
The province announced the five-day test positivity rate had hit its highest point yet, with nine per cent of all COVID-19 tests conducted five days before Nov. 2 turning up positive. Province-wide, 124 people are in hospital with COVID-19 - 18 of those people are in intensive care.
It’s worse in Alberta where Friday the province reported a one-day record of 622 cases and hospitalizations due to the infection continue to increase.
As of Friday, the province had more than 5,000 active cases with 140 people in hospital, 25 of them in intensive care. The death toll stood at 323.
It’s no better looking south either.
North Dakota has experienced record-breaking daily new cases, reportedly leading the spread of deaths per capita in the U.S.
Data comparison indicates that over the course of one month, the North Dakota Department of Health saw a 167 percent increase in active COVID-19 cases from the prior month.
The state reported 3,158 residents with positive COVID-19 infections. As of Monday, Nov. 2, about 8,440 residents have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
The state also announced nine new COVID-19 deaths Monday.
What does this all mean?
We need to be hyper-vigilant as individuals and a community.
This is not a disease anyone should want (see one resident's experience).
We also do not want to see forced closures again, the economy does not need another foundational rocking that would cause.
So put on your masks in public, social distance, wash your hands often.
Be courteous, be kind, and be safe.
Only then can we again begin to get the pandemic curve under control.