Minister for Seniors Everett Hindley, announced at today’s news conference that effective next Thursday April 29th, long-term care and personal care homes will be able to welcome an unlimited number of family members or support people, two at a time, to visit fully vaccinated residents if at least 90 per cent of residents have been fully vaccinated and three weeks have elapsed since the last second dose vaccinations. These homes will also be able to allow up to four family members or support people to visit outdoors, and fully vaccinated residents who go on outings, will no longer be required to quarantine upon their return to a home. The visiting family members do not have to be the same people every time. The Minister stated that approximately 43 facilities have currently met that benchmark and more are very close to that benchmark.
Family and support persons visiting will still have to follow public health guidelines on masking, physical distancing, hand hygiene, routine testing and temperature screening. Fully vaccinated residents must still abide by all public health measures in place when they leave a care home, including current restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings. So, while family members can go and visit at the care home, the current restrictions on only household members being together in personal homes means that residents of care homes are not allowed to visit in the homes of their family.
"Our priority is the safety and well-being of residents and staff in our long-term care homes and personal care homes," Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley said. "This gradual, cautious approach will help keep residents safe, while allowing them much-needed contact with their loved ones."
SHA Medical Health Officers will have discretion to maintain restrictions, even if the thresholds are met. They will consider the local context, including the level of community transmission and the number of cases within a home.
As Saskatchewan receives its next round of vaccines appointments will once again be available at all clinics including the drive thru’s, and as well up to 63 pharmacies in 14 communities around the province who were chosen to be part of the pilot of the pharmacy roll-out. The pilot will help with refining the process and identifying any issues before bringing all participating pharmacies online. Some of these pilot pharmacies will be able to start accepting bookings for appointments as early as tomorrow, while the majority will start on Monday. With a call to the Wakaw Pharmacy and the Sask Valley Pharmacy in Rosthern we learned that neither of these pharmacies are part of the pilot roll-out. Information that was shared with the Wakaw Pharmacy indicated that they could expect to be delivering the vaccine sometime in May but as of now there is no clear timeline. The difficulties with vaccine supply that has been impacting the vaccination program of late has also affected the timing for the pharmacy participation. The pharmacies also do not know at this time what vaccine they will be provided with and so, until the vaccine supply becomes more stable many unknowns still remain.
Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder