HUMBOLDT — Humboldt council has passed a policy requiring all city employees to be tested for COVID-19 once a week at the expense of the city.
This is following the provincial government adding a proof of vaccination or negative test policy that will be implemented for all Government of Saskatchewan ministry, crown and agency employees beginning Oct. 1.
Provincial employees who do not provide proof of vaccination will be required to provide proof of a negative test result on a consistent basis.
Humboldt’s municipal policy, which passed during council’s Sept. 27 meeting, impacts municipal employees of the city rather than provincial ministry, crown and agencies.
The policy that passed, requiring all employees be tested, is an amended version of a policy that was brought to council, which would have added the similar requirement to the province – mandating that all city employees either submit a negative test on a consistent basis or show a proof of vaccination.
The specification of a weekly basis rather than “consistent,” and the removal of the option to show a proof of vaccination rather than be tested was chosen by council in meeting discussions. As a result, vaccinated persons are not required to show proof of vaccination as they will be tested anyway.
Coun. Rob Muench expressed concerns with the policy as originally presented, stating that he feels it isn’t fair to unvaccinated individuals.
“It’s not only unvaccinated people getting COVID and passing it on,” Muench said.
“I know several that I've talked to in the last while – double vaccinated, get COVID and spread it. So I think to make this policy more bulletproof and more effective, rather than being three-quarters of what we could be, I would suggest that we have a policy that tests all employees, whether they're vaccinated or not.”
According to stats released by the Government of Saskatchewan in early September, 84 per cent of all new cases and hospitalizations in Saskatchewan in August were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people.
Out of the 4,596 cases reported in August, 3,840, or 83.5 per cent, were unvaccinated or tested positive within three weeks of receiving their first vaccination. Four hundred and twenty-four cases, or 9.2 per cent, were partially vaccinated with one dose, while 756 cases, or 16.4 per cent, were fully vaccinated. Of the 756 cases with a second dose, 17.6 per cent (133) had comorbid conditions.
The provincial government is continuing to encourage all residents who are eligible for immunization to receive both doses as soon as they are able.