Visitor restrictions in long-term care and personal care homes throughout Saskatchewan will further ease on May 30 as part of the province’s Re-opening Roadmap announced at the beginning of the month.
The Saskatchewan government says these restrictions will loosen once the province moves to Step One of the plan. It means all residents of long-term care and personal care homes will be permitted to welcome an unlimited number of visitors, two at a time, indoors. In addition, up to four family members or support persons at a time will be able to visit outdoors.
Care home visitation will continue to be limited to compassionate reasons only until May 30, except for fully vaccinated residents of homes where 90 per cent of residents have been fully vaccinated and three weeks have elapsed since the last second dose vaccinations.
All care home residents who go on outings will no longer be required to quarantine upon their return to the facility starting May 30 as well. Residents must continue to abide by all public health measures in place, including current restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings, while away from the home.
Minister Responsible for Seniors, Everett Hindley says it’s relieving to be able to ease the restrictions.
“These restrictions were amongst the most difficult measures our government imposed throughout the entire pandemic, they were also the most necessary,” said Hindley. “Now, because of the protection vaccines are providing, we can ease those restrictions further, and we will do so in alignment with the three steps in Saskatchewan’s Reopening Roadmap.”
Step Two of the roadmap is tentatively set for the third week of June, and it will see all long-term care and personal care homes able to allow four visitors at a time indoors and nine visitors at a time outdoors. Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, is still developing further revisions to the family presence policy for Step Three, which is currently targeted for the second week of July.
Hindley says the decision comes as more than 95 percent of long-term care residents have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 89 percent have received their second dose.
“Because of the large uptake of vaccines, and how effective they’ve been across the entire population, but particularly our seniors,” said Hindley. “There’s still going to be rules that are going to have to be followed, there’ll still be masking, and temperature checking, and all that sort of stuff when you go to visit a family member in a long-term care facility. We just felt with where we are right now, it’s safe to further ease the restrictions.”
Family and support persons visiting care homes will still be required to follow public health guidelines on masking, physical distancing, hand hygiene and temperature screening. They may be offered an optional rapid antigen test.
There are 252 personal care homes, 151 long-term care homes and eight other health-care facilities that accommodate long-term care beds in Saskatchewan.