Government of Saskatchewan updates COVID-19 self isolation, close contacts protocols

The provincial government announced Thursday morning that changes will be made to the COVID-19 self isolation and close protocols.

“As we learn to live with COVID, we learn to be prepared to transition our public health measures and responses,” Said Health Minister Paul Merriman during a virtual press briefing.

The changes will take effect on Friday January 28.

Residents who receive a positive test result on a PCR or rapid antigen test will be required to self-isolate for five days, regardless of vaccination status. Previously unvaccinated residents who tested positive were required to self-isolate for ten days.

The Saskatchewan government also announced that close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases will no longer have to isolate regardless of vaccination status.

Parents are no longer required to notify schools about positive test results for the purpose of close contact notification. Those  who test positive will be required to stay home during school and activities during the self-isolation period.

If an individual is currently self-isolating because  they are an unconfirmed case or a close contact of a case, they may be able to amend their self-isolation period as of 12:00 pm, Friday, January 28, in accordance with this policy if asymptomatic. If they are symptomatic, they must continue to self-isolate until the symptoms resolve.

Residents are advised if they are experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms, including cough, sore throat, sneezing without fever, it is recommended that they stay home and care for their symptoms, by using rapid antigen testing and self-isolate based on a positive result.

Under the current public health order, masking is mandatory in all indoor public spaces including schools; mandatory self-isolation is required for all confirmed cases; and proof of vaccination or negative test requirements are in place for public access to a list of establishments, businesses and event venues.

The provincial government approach is something that Merriman said is having to continually evolve.

“Omicron is completely different than Delta and we have to adapt our policies with self isolation right now to be able to make sure that we are dealing with this wave the best we possibly can. Reducing it down to 5 does not mean that COVID has gone away, it has not gone away, and I want to be very clear about that. How we are dealing with it is continuously evolving.”

The Sask. NDP believe the changes to COVID self isolation and close contact protocols are not in the best interest for the province.

NDP Leader Ryan Meili says the provincial government is not listening to the people of Saskatchewan. “Talk to Saskatchewan people not like somebody you’re trying to selling a used car, but somebody that you are actually that you are in a partnership and trying to do the best that you can.”

With the province decreasing self isolation periods that this will lead to a further spread of Omicron variant according to the Sask. NDP.

Meili says that the Omicron variant should not be compared to a seasonal influenza. “We’ve never seen a situation where a seasonal influenza has given us this level of inpatient admissions, this level of death, this a very different situation, that’s not a good analogy and I am somewhat disappointed to hear that from Dr. Shahab.”

The NDP leader added that the Premier hasn’t done enough to stop the spreading of the Omicron variant. “Acting sensibly before there is a problem is not overreacting, it’s acting wisely. Meili added “Scott Moe saw this coming, knew what it was doing everywhere else, had to time to act and get out of it and instead said no, we’re going do nothing.”


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