by Alana Ross
Prince Albert Northcote
This week marked an important milestone as public health restrictions, including mandatory masking and limits on events and gathering sizes, have been removed. It is, however, recommended that unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people continue masking.
We are all feeling a little fatigued after seventeen months of pandemic precaution and, while COVID-19 is still here, more than half of our population is now fully vaccinated. This increased level of protection means that people in our province can start returning to normal activities. For those working from home, for example, this may mean a return to the workplace.
At a time when individuals and families are navigating what life will look like as we emerge from the pandemic, I want to provide some clarity as to where we are at today.
While the public health order requiring masking in indoor spaces has come to an end, masking will continue to be an option for all residents who wish to do so. Some businesses may choose to maintain masking requirements but that will be up to them. Information for businesses and workplaces is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/step-3-business-workers-faq.
Prekindergarten to Grade 12 schools will return to regular operations for the 2021-22 school year and licensed child care facilities can now return to regular pre-pandemic operations. While there are currently no COVID-19 vaccines approved for children under 12, all residents 12+ are encouraged to be fully vaccinated to afford these groups the best circle of protection possible.
Children can contract, transmit and become ill with COVID-19 though the risk for serious health outcomes is lower than older populations. If you are fully vaccinated, all activities with children will be considered lower risk. If you are eligible for either your first or second dose, you can find a vaccination clinic or pharmacy location online www.saskatchewan.ca/covid-19-vaccine.
Long-term care homes and personal care homes may allow an unlimited number of visitors and family members for their residents, subject to scheduling limitations in a home.
Visitors and families will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and will be offered rapid antigen testing in Saskatchewan Health Authority facilities. Visitors and families are strongly encouraged to continue to wear masks during visits and to maintain physical distance, especially if not fully vaccinated. Staff will continue to take precautions to protect residents including masking, screening, rapid testing and use of personal protective equipment.
More information on family visitation to care home settings is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/covid-care-home-visitation-guide.
Masking and screening will still be required for all patients and visitors to Saskatchewan’s acute care health facilities. All measures regarding screening for COVID-19, including screening for symptoms and masking will also continue at all Saskatchewan Cancer Agency facilities.While the public health order will no longer be in place, COVID-19 will continue to circulate, particularly among unvaccinated populations. Being fully vaccinated is the best protection against COVID-19 and all residents will continue to be offered first and second doses.
All residents should continue to self-monitor for symptoms, stay home when sick, and seek a COVID-19 test. Information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-testing.
Public health will continue monitoring and responding to localized COVID-19 outbreaks. Testing will still be available, contact tracing will continue and cases and close contacts who are not fully immunized may be advised to isolate by public health officials. Individuals should, of course, follow all advice provided by public health officials.
The past few weeks have been busy both with important reflections and celebrations. From Pride Month and Canada Day to a candlelight vigil for the unmarked graves found at Cowesses, a smudge in support of the homeless, and events commemorating the unveiling of two statues honouring Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
I also had the opportunity to participate in the PAGC Urban Services Community Cares Kitchen where I met some truly amazing volunteers and Prince Albert Northcote residents. A big thank you to Natalie Guimond and volunteers for their astounding effort.
As always, if you have questions, comments, concerns or require assistance with provincial government programs or services, I encourage you to contact our Constituency Office. You can find us at 7 – 598 15th St. E. We can also be contacted by telephone at 306-763-7677 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.