Melville Mayor Walter Streelasky said he was pleased to hear about high COVID-19 vaccination uptake in his community last week.
“I was informed that it was 90 per cent (double vaccinated) … (information) came from our health providers in our community,” Streelasky said.
“We’re still not at 100 but I think we’re the 85-plus (per cent) kind of range and that is, I think, very necessary and it’s very satisfying to hear that our community was that supportive of our initiatives to overcome the pandemic.”
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During a COVID-19 briefing on Nov. 18, Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, gave a shout out to a high vaccination uptake in Melville.
“This doesn’t do justice to the many, many communities, urban and rural, who have had a high vaccine uptake. I give a shout out to Melville,” Shahab said.
“We know that about 50 per cent of the population is in Regina and Saskatoon. Another may be a significant proportion is in the large urban hubs, (like Prince Albert), Swift Current Yorkton, Melville and North Battleford. So many of these regional urban hubs also have high vaccination uptake.
“I think it’s really a community effort and I really encourage communities to celebrate their success if they have high vaccine uptake and for other communities who may have a lower uptake to maybe learn from each other … there are many communities that are below 50 per cent which is very concerning.”
The mayor doesn’t know exactly why there’s high uptake in the city of roughly 5,000 people but said his council was on board with provincial and federal health officials’ advice from day one.
“When this first struck our community … we met with city administration and sort of looked at how we could possibly do some positive messaging,” Streelasky said.
“In the summer of 2020 as an initiative that I chose to take, we along with the support of the Melville Fire Department … (we had) a citywide float tour and we went up and down every street and avenue.
“There was a huge billboard, stating the following ‘strength for today, hope for tomorrow.’”
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Streelasky said the community seemed very responsive to their proactive messaging.
“Why this happened. I’m not sure, but I’m very glad that our community is supportive of the fact that the vaccinations are a requirement and should be adhered to. That is probably the only way out,” Streelasky said.
“I mean, we sat for a long time waiting for a vaccination to be developed and that has occurred, and I encourage all citizens to certainly utilize this vaccine so that we can move through this pandemic and back to what we consider the good times.
“I’m very proud of my community that this, that they are supported in that way. I know that there probably still some that choose not to be vaccinated but there have been no demonstration in regard to that type of action.”
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According to the provincial government’s dashboard, Saskatchewan had 152 COVID-19 patients in hospital and the death toll grew by one to 912 on Monday. The province’s seven-day average of new daily infections is down to 105.
Saskatchewan’s active infections also decreased, now sitting at 998.
The total number of vaccines administered in the province is 1,712,677 while 828,300 residents are considered fully vaccinated.
Melville is roughly 140 km northeast of Regina.
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