The provincial government is set to allow visitors to spend more time with their loved ones in long-term care and personal care homes in Saskatchewan.
Beginning April 29, care homes will be permitted to welcome an unlimited number of family members or support people, two at a time indoors, to visit fully vaccinated residents. Care homes must ensure that at least 90 per cent of residents are fully vaccinated and three weeks have elapsed since the last second dose vaccinations.
In addition, care homes will be allowed up to four family members or support people to visit in outdoor settings. Fully vaccinated residents who go on outings will no longer be required quarantine once they return to the facility.
“43 long-term care homes across the province have already met this criteria and many more will qualify in the coming days,” said Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley on Thursdsay. “We’ve said many times that the road back to normal is through vaccinations and I think today’s announcement is just a small glimpse of what that looks like.”
Care homes will be contacted by the Saskatchewan Health Authority when they are eligible to loosen visitor restrictions. However personal care homes will be responsible for aligning themselves with the same operational policies as the SHA; facilities will need to verify they meet the requirements.
“Our priority is the safety and well-being of residents and staff in our long-term care homes and personal care homes,” stated Hindley. “This gradual, cautious approach will help keep residents safe, while allowing them much-needed contact with their loved ones.”
Visitors will still be required to follow public health measures such as physical distancing, masking, temperature checks and routine testing. Residents that are fully vaccinated must abide by all public health guidelines if they leave a care home, including current restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings.
It will be up to SHA medical health officers will have discretion to maintain restrictions even when thresholds are met. “They will consider the local context, including the level of community transmission and the number of cases within a home,” reads a statement by the government on Thursday.