REGINA — Here are five key takeaways from Thursday's announcement regarding realignment of Saskatchewan's public health strategy.
Living With COVID
The focus is now on living with and managing COVID-19 in the long term. Surveillance of COVID-19 will now align with reporting for other communicable diseases. Starting the week of Feb. 7, public health will begin reporting COVID-19 epidemiological information weekly on Thursdays. The provincial COVID-19 dashboard, with its daily update, will be discontinued.
Public Health Orders
The current public health orders will remain in place at this time but are subject to review. This includes mandatory masking in all indoor public spaces including schools; mandatory self-isolation for all confirmed cases; and proof of vaccination or negative test requirements for public access to a list of establishments, businesses and event venues.
No More Online PCR Test Booking
Effective Monday, Feb. 7, all COVID-19 PCR testing will be by appointments made through HealthLine 811. While the online appointment booking system will be discontinued Feb. 7, walk-in and drive thru testing sites will be discontinued over the coming week. Services provided through SHA testing and assessment centres will be redistributed to primary care sites through the month of February.
With most Omicron COVID-19 cases resulting in mild illness, PCR testing will be reserved for priority populations at elevated risk for severe outcomes and can be booked y calling the HealthLine 811.
Purchase Your Own Test
Residents who require PCR test results for travel, insurance claims including potential Workers' Compensation Board claims, or in lieu of proof of vaccination, will be required to purchase a test from a private lab service provider for that documentation.
Living with COVID-19 requires all residents to continue the measures known to work. While safe and effective vaccine and rapid at-home testing are widely available and are important public health interventions, all other personal preventive measures remain important to preventing transmission.
• Immediately self-isolate and self-test with even the mildest cold- or flu-like symptoms.
• Wear your best mask whenever you are outside your home or when meeting friends and family you know to be at high risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes.
• Get vaccinated, including your third/booster dose as soon as you are eligible.
Living with COVID-19 means all residents should be self-monitoring, self-testing and self-managing to help prevent transmission.