Safe Family Presence and Visiting Continues with New Medical Masking Requirement in Long-Term Care
With increasing COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, and in an effort to further minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission and its variants, effective immediately, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is expanding its mandatory medical masking protocol.
Families and visitors in SHA long-term care homes and affiliates will now be required to wear a medical mask provided by the long-term care home at all times, not just when outside of residents’ rooms. This masking protocol applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals and applies to both single and multi-resident rooms. This change aligns with the latest Government of Saskatchewan Public Health Order. As the number of outbreaks in long-term care increases and the number of residents infected with COVID-19 and its variants continues to increase, additional safety precautions, including mandatory masking in resident rooms, are needed.
Long-term care residents are not required to mask in their own rooms, as this is their home, but are encouraged to mask when outside their room and in common indoor areas.
The requirement for families and visitors to mask within SHA acute facilities continues.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority is urgently requesting co-operation from families and visitors to properly wear medical masks at all times within health-care facilities and long term care homes. We know that it is essential for patients and long-term care residents to be supported by their loved ones while receiving care; masking of family and visitors is one of the ways we are able to support safe family presence.
Free medical masks will be provided at screening stations when entering a long-term care home. Family members or visitors must:
- wear the mask so it fully covers their nose, mouth and chin;
- perform hand hygiene before and after you put on your mask; and
- keep your mask on at all times, and refrain from lowering it to talk.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants, SHA will also continue to:
- ask everyone to complete health screening and perform hand hygiene before they enter;
- offer rapid COVID testing (results available in 15 minutes);
- encourage full vaccination and physical distancing; and
- monitor local spread of the virus.
All health-care workers must continue to put on a medical mask upon entry to any SHA building or facility and continue to wear it at all times and in all areas, unless eating and/or drinking.
Those who refuse to comply with masking requirements may be asked to leave.
The SHA continues to strongly encourage all Saskatchewan residents 12 years of age and older to be immunized with both doses. COVID-19 variants are continuing to develop and spread, and are more transmissible than the initial COVID-19 virus. Vaccines are proving to be effective in protecting individuals from serious illness against these variants, and high vaccination rates in our province will help curb the spread. Vaccination is available through participating pharmacies or at SHA COVID-19 vaccine clinics.