REGINA - The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is requesting assistance from COVID-19 positive individuals to provide notification to their own close contacts of their positive status as part of its modified approach to contact tracing.
Positive COVID-19 cases are surging, as well as the number of close contacts being identified by cases. This surge combined with limited public health resources has resulted in an inability to provide timely notification to individuals who may have been exposed and are at risk.
SHA public health is adopting a modified approach to case and contact investigations. As a result, COVID positive persons will be supported to notify their own close contacts.
SHA Public Health will:
- Quickly notify individuals testing positive for COVID and provide isolation education.
- Educate individuals testing positive for COVID on who is a close contact and what information to provide to their close contacts.
- Continue to identify persons testing positive in healthcare settings, vulnerable populations, long term care and other congregate living settings to prioritize investigations in these setting so that outbreak prevention and control measures can be put into action quickly.
The SHA and Ministry of Health are working together to review the protocols around school case management and contact tracing.
Supporting public health teams by personally notifying close contacts is a valuable action people can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19, in conjunction with vaccination, according to a press release.
The SHA also encourages all residents to download the COVID-19 Alert app. The Health Canada COVID Alert app is available to all Saskatchewan residents at no cost in the Apple and Google Play app store. The app is another tool available to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 by letting people know of possible exposures. For more information, visit the COVID-19 Apps webpage.
The SHA is strongly encouraging 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.
More information on personal notification of close contacts is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/Covid19.