Mar. 27 NINE NEW CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES IN SASKATCHEWAN
As of March 27, 2020, the province of Saskatchewan has nine new, confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the provincial total to 104.
Six individuals are hospitalized: • One inpatient hospitalization in the North region; • Three hospitalized in Regina including: two inpatient hospitalizations and one in ICU (intensive care unit) hospitalization; and • Two hospitalized in Saskatoon including: one inpatient hospitalization and one ICU hospitalization.
Six cases are a result of local transmission, with one additional case reported today in the Central region. The rest are travel-related. Four confirmed cases concern individuals 19 years of age and under; all other cases are adults.
• 49 cases are in the 20-44 age range; • 33 are in the 45-64 range; • 18 cases have been confirmed in the 65-plus range; and • 57 per cent of the cases are males and 43 per cent are females.
Three people are have recovered from the virus, though there may be more cases yet to be reported to Public Health.
To date, 7,580 COVID-19 tests have been performed by the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory. Case surveillance and testing information, including regional locations of confirmed and presumptive cases is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.
UPDATE ON COVID-19 MEASURES BEING TAKEN IN CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES
The Ministry of Corrections and Policing is taking significant steps to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 in provincial correctional facilities. At this time, we can confirm that two staff at Saskatoon Correctional Centre have been identified as having COVID-19 through testing. These staff have been directed by public health authorities to self-isolate at home, and Corrections is working with public health authorities to determine who these individuals might have come into contact with within the correctional facility and what measures need to be taken as a result. Staff who believe they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to contact a health care provider and to notify their supervisor of their concerns. We are working with health authorities to ensure corrections workers, like other essential service providers, receive priority testing for COVID-19. Corrections will work with public health authorities to determine next steps if it is confirmed that a staff member has COVID-19. Currently, no offenders in provincial correctional facilities have been confirmed as having COVID-19. There is currently one unit at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre on quarantine as a precautionary measure for what is believed to be a non-COVID-19 illness. The ministry is exploring how to more effectively manage the sentenced offender population in our provincial correctional facilities in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, and is using existing infrastructure and program space within correctional facilities to create additional separation between offenders and staff. Nurses watch for symptoms of illness in the offender population and if symptoms are identified, they ensure prompt assessment, testing, documenting and reporting of offenders suspected or confirmed to have a communicable disease. When there is a suspected illness among the offender population in a custody facility, the facility director ensures that disease specific precautions are put in place, including the use of medical cells or other isolated areas. Personal protective equipment is being provided to corrections staff and offenders based on criteria established by the World Health Organization and public health authorities.
Other measures being taken include: • restricting the movement and placement of offenders within the facility; • suspending or limiting programming to smaller groups of offenders to ensure adequate social distancing; • increased communication to staff and offenders about proper hygiene and contagious disease precautions; • enhancing cleaning protocols in all facilities for common areas and equipment; and • thorough and regular handwashing with soap and water by facility staff. NINE NEW CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES IN SASKATCHEWAN
As of March 26, 2020, the province of Saskatchewan has nine new, confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the provincial total to 95.
• There are no new presumptive cases awaiting testing – all cases to date are confirmed. • Three people are have recovered from the virus, though there may be more cases yet to be reported to Public Health. • Five people have been hospitalized: o Three in Regina, with one in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU); o Two in Saskatoon, with one in the ICU. • Five cases are a result of local transmission, with one additional case reported today in the northern region. The rest are travel-related. • Four confirmed cases concern individuals 19 years of age and under; all other cases are adults. • 45 cases are in the 20-44 age range; 32 are in the 45-64 range; and 14 cases have been confirmed in the 65-plus range. • 57 per cent of the cases are males and 43 per cent are females.
To date, 6,915 COVID-19 tests have been performed by the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory. Case surveillance and testing information, including regional locations of confirmed and presumptive cases is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.
Public Health Order Amended
The public health order has been amended to include the limiting of indoor and outdoor gatherings to no more than 10 people, except for families in the same household, and where critical public and business services are conducted. In the case of critical public and business services where two-metre distancing is not possible, other measures such as self-monitoring or supervision by Infection Prevention and Control Officers, or Occupational Health and Safety in the workplace, will be allowed. The order also states that all businesses not identified as critical public services be closed.
New as of March 26, 2020, the closure and restrictions of food services includes an order that staff must dispense food products. Self-service of open prepared food products (e.g. salad bars, soup and hot food items at convenience stores) is no longer permitted.
COVID-19 Information Online
Current information on self-isolation, personal protection measures and information for care providers is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.
Mar. 26 EVICTIONS SUSPENDED DUE TO COVID-19
Government is temporarily suspending eviction hearings as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.
Starting today, the Office of Residential Tenancies (ORT) will not be accepting applications for eviction related to missed or late rent, or for other non-urgent claims. Previous eviction orders for non-urgent matters (i.e. – not related to health and safety concerns) will not be enforced, and previously scheduled hearings for non-urgent matters have been cancelled as of today.
The ORT will only be conducting eviction hearings for urgent situations where there is a potential risk to health or safety resulting from violence or damage to property. Hearings may also take place for situations where a tenant has been locked out by their landlord or where a landlord has been accused of not providing essential services such as power and water.
“Under the circumstances, we want to ensure that tenants facing hardship as a result of COVID-19 can remain in their homes and follow all orders and recommendations from the Chief Medical Officer,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said. “An essential part of flattening the curve is staying home and self-isolating. We want to provide piece of mind that those taking the necessary precautions as a result of this unprecedented situation will still have a roof over their head.”
Tenants who are unable to pay their rent during the state of emergency will be expected to pay their rent in full once the state of emergency is over. This action is being taken in recognition of the fact that our province is currently in an unprecedented state of emergency that may result in unforeseen financial hardship or health consequences for tenants.
Government is specifically concerned that evicted tenants will be unable to self-isolate or physically distance themselves from others, potentially increasing the risk of transmitting or contracting COVID-19.
The ORT continues to encourage landlords and tenants to communicate with each other about their individual situations so that they can come to mutually agreeable solutions in this challenging time.
FOURTEEN NEW, CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES IN SASKATCHEWAN
As of March 25, 2020, the province of Saskatchewan has 14 new, confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 86 confirmed cases.
• Four cases are as a result of local transmission. The rest are travel-related. • There are currently four hospitalizations related to COVID-19. • Four are 19 years of age and under, 69 are between the ages of 20 and 64, and 13 are 65 years and older. • 57 per cent of the cases are males and 43 per cent are females.
To date, 6,270 COVID-19 tests have been performed by the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory. The case surveillance and testing information, including the regional locations of the confirmed and presumptive positive cases, is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.
Returning Retired Healthcare Providers
The Ministry of Health is working with licensing bodies to support the recruitment of recently retired health professionals like registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, laboratory, diagnostic technicians and others to assist with the expected demands on the acute care system during the COVID-19 pandemic response.
Travelers should check this page frequently as the information will be updated regularly.
COVID-19 Information Online
Current information on self-isolation, personal protection measures and information for care providers is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.
Public inquiries may be directed to COVID19@health.gov.sk.ca. GOVERNMENT CLARIFIES ALLOWABLE BUSINESS SERVICES, LIMITS GATHERINGS TO 10 PERSON MAXIMUM To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Saskatchewan is limiting the size of public and private gatherings to a maximum of ten people.Additionally, clarity is being provided to Saskatchewan businesses surrounding the operations of allowable business services, in consultation with the Chief Medical Health Officer.A list of critical public services and allowable business services has been created to inform the business community of which businesses can continue to operate in accordance with social distancing practices.All changes are effective March 26, 2020.
“As we impose further restrictions to fight the spread of COVID-19, we know this creates challenges for businesses in Saskatchewan and we know that providing as much clarity as possible is important,” Premier Scott Moe said.“We are already seeing the creation of a social distancing economy in Saskatchewan as many businesses adapt their service delivery to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Critical Public Services and Allowable Business Services
The government is releasing a comprehensive list of critical public services and business services that will be allowed to continue operating during the COVID-19 response and maintaining critical services to the public and industry to prevent supply chain disruption.
The list includes: health care and public health workers; law enforcement, public safety and first responders; production, processing and manufacturing and the supporting supply chains; transportation and logistics; government and community services; media and telecommunications; construction including maintenance and repair; select retail services; and banking and financial services.
Non-Allowable Business Services
Effective March 26, non-allowable business services will be unable to provide public-facing services.While closure of non-allowable business services prevents certain businesses from providing public facing services, it does not preclude opportunities for non-allowable business services to expand into online retailing, or providing pick-up or delivery services. Examples of non-allowable business services that will be prohibited from providing public-facing services includes: clothing stores; shoe stores; flower shops; sporting good and adventure stores; vaping supply shops; boats, ATV, or snowmobile retailers; gift, book, or stationary stores; jewelry and accessory stores; toy stores; music, electronic and entertainment stores; pawn shops; and travel agencies.
This is in addition to the following business services that were ordered closed on March 23: Restaurants, food courts, cafeterias, cafes, bistros and similar facilities.Exceptions are take-out with two metre distancing between customers during pick-up; drive through food services; delivery of food products; soup kitchens, not-for-profit community and religious kitchens with two metre distancing between tables.
Personal service facilities including tattooists, hairdressers, barbers, acupuncturists, acupressurists, cosmetologists, electrologists, estheticians, manicurists, pedicurists, suntanning parlours, relaxation masseuses, facilities performing body piercing, bone grafting or scarification services.
All recreational and entertainment facilities including fitness centers, casinos, bingo halls, arenas, curling rinks, swimming pools, galleries, theatres, museums and similar facilities.
Dental, optometrist, chiropractic, registered massage therapy and podiatry clinics except for non-elective procedures. Supports for Business and Employers (Previously Announced) The Government of Saskatchewan has previously announced a financial support program for employers and employees impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. To learn more about supports available for businesses and workers, or for further clarity regarding allowable business services, email email@example.com, or visit https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-information-for-businesses-and-workers Public and Private Gatherings Restricted to 10 Person Maximum Effective March 26, public and private gatherings of more than 10 people in one room are prohibited. Exceptions are provided where two metre distancing between people can be maintained, such as: workplaces and meeting settings where people are distributed into multiple rooms or buildings; and retail locations deemed essential. Social Distancing in the Workplace
Workplaces must ensure their occupational health and safety guidelines are up to date and in force to prevent the transmission of respiratory illnesses. Workers must follow personal protective measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. • All travellers returning from international destinations – including the U.S. – are subject to a mandatory self-isolation order.Anyone identified by a Medical Health Officers as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 shall go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from the date of having been exposed.Exempted are truckers, airline, rail, and work crews that are required to work in order to maintain business continuity and are supervised by Infection Prevention and Control Officers or Occupational Health and Safety in the workplace. • Actively monitor for symptoms.At the first sign of cough, immediately self-isolate for 14 days. • Practice physical distancing in the workplace. Maintain a two metre separation between individuals. • Wash your hands often. Cough/sneeze into your elbow or tissue and wash your hands immediately. Stay home if you are ill.Unsure about your symptoms?Use the self-assessment tool at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19 to determine if you should contact HealthLine 811. Businesses can email: firstname.lastname@example.org For all public inquiries regarding COVID-19, email: COVID19@health.gov.sk.ca
SASKATCHEWAN PUBLIC SAFETY AGENCY LAUNCHES TOLL-FREE LINE FOR NON-HEALTH RELATED QUESTIONS
Today, the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) is launching a dedicated, toll-free phone line for people who have general questions about the COVID-19 pandemic that are not health-specific. The 1-855-559-5502 (for Regina residents: 306-787-8539) line will be staffed 18 hours a day, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., by emergency operators who will be able to answer questions or point people to information ranging from government services to travel restrictions. “We expect this new line to free up room for 811 healthcare professionals to reach more people who may be experiencing medical issues,” SPSA President Marlo Pritchard said. People are encouraged to access the latest, most accurate information on COVID-19 in Saskatchewan at www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19. If people have symptoms or health concerns, they are encouraged to phone 811. To learn more about the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency visithttps://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/government-structure/crown-corporations/saskatchewan-public-safety-agency.
Mar. 25 The Government of Saskatchewan and the Federal Government are committing $28 million to help Saskatoon researchers find a vaccine for COVID-19.Funding from both the province and Ottawa will support the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac). The lab is one of the most advanced infectious disease research facilities in the world and has been evaluating COVID-19 vaccine models for several weeks. “Saskatchewan is leading the global effort to find a vaccine and we are providing our researchers with additional support to continue and to share their life-saving work with Canadians and people around the world,” Minister Responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan Tina Beaudry-Mellor said. VIDO-InterVac scientists were the first in Canada to isolate the virus that causes COVID-19, in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and a research facility in Toronto.They expect to know in mid-April whether their vaccine works in an animal model.Clinical testing can start once VIDO-InterVac provides enough preliminary data for Health Canada to determine the candidate vaccine is safe in humans. “The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians,” said Navdeep Bains, Federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.“We are all in this together: Canada is benefiting from the impressive and innovative power of our researchers at Saskatoon’s VIDO-InterVac in our national approach to fight COVID-19. Together, we are rapidly scaling-up our capacity in research and in manufacturing to combat this pandemic.” Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in January, the Government of Saskatchewan has provided researchers in Saskatoon with a total of $4.2 million.VIDO-InterVac also received $1 million through the federal rapid research funding initiative for COVID-19 research projects, in addition to the $23 million in federal funding announced on March 23 for the centre’s manufacturing facility to produce COVID-19 vaccines for clinical trials, and overall operational costs. “This funding helps fast track vaccine development for emerging infections including COVID-19,” VIDO-InterVac Director and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Volker Gerdts said.“We very much appreciate the Government of Saskatchewan and the Federal Government’s continued support of our research and development efforts in these challenging times.”
SASKATCHEWAN HEALTH AUTHORITY EXPANDING CAPACITY FOR COVID-19
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is expanding capacity to meet demand for future phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is one part of the SHA’s overall strategy to contain, delay and mitigate COVID-19. “Based on what we know from other jurisdictions, it is critical we act immediately to expand acute care capacity to mitigate the impact of COVID-19,” SHA CEO Scott Livingstone said. “Demand will exceed capacity. All jurisdictions are facing this challenge. We are not alone. We are acting immediately to ensure Saskatchewan residents get the care they need from the right provider, at the right time, with the right supports in place.” Modelling from other jurisdictions suggests that this virus may affect 30 per cent of the population and result in thousands needing hospitalization. This modelling is being updated to ensure it is more specific to the situation in Saskatchewan. “Under any scenario, it is critical that we continue to act to escalate our tactics to meet the potential demand,” Livingstone said. “That is why we are stepping up actions on an ongoing basis to do our part in ensuring the safety of Saskatchewan people.” The SHA has already initiated measures to ensure this demand is met. A slowdown of non-essential services to increase bed availability, preserve supplies and support a labour pool for reallocation is already underway. SHA leadership is activating plans to create additional capacity through: • Creation of dedicated spaces to cohort COVID-19 patients within facilities. • Creation of COVID-19 designated hospitals in Saskatoon and Regina and other areas of the province, where required. • Creation of additional community based acute care capacity where required (e.g. field hospitals in school gyms, community centres, rinks, etc.). “This plan will ensure we are prepared,” Livingstone said. “But it won’t be enough; it has been proven over and over with this virus that no health system in the world can address this challenge alone without the sustained help of the general public.” Actions that people and communities must take to address this challenge include: • Practicing good hygiene, washing hands regularly and practicing social distancing (two meters apart wherever possible); • Abide by provincial and local travel, self-isolation, event and gathering restrictions; • Use medical supplies effectively and efficiently so that they are there when needed; • Avoid visiting our hospitals and long-term care facilities unless there are compassionate reasons for doing so. A provincial Emergency Operations Centre has been established, as well as Integrated Health Incident Command Centres (IHICCs) for each of the SHA service areas (Saskatoon, Regina, Rural and North). It is these local IHICC’s that will be accountable for finalizing and deploying the continuity of services and surge capacity plans on a local level. Changes to services and service locations are already occurring and will be ongoing as we adapt to the increased capacity it will take for the health system to effectively manage the weeks and months ahead. Communities will be updated as changes occur in their areas. “We strongly urge every resident in Saskatchewan to abide by the restrictions, guidelines and orders enacted by the Government of Saskatchewan, and help our province slow the rate of transmission of this virus,” SHA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Susan Shaw said. “The success of preventive measures will have a direct impact on health system demand for hospital care. The actions of the public will help save lives and ensure our health system is there for when you need it, regardless of the circumstance.”
SIX NEW CONFIRMED CASES OF COVID-19 IN SASKATCHEWAN
As of March 24, 2020, the province of Saskatchewan has six new, confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 72 confirmed cases.
• 60 per cent of the cases are males and 40 per cent are females. • To date, 5,757 COVID-19 tests have been performed by the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory.
Of the 72 confirmed cases, two are 19 years of age and under, 59 are between the ages of 20 and 64 and 11 are 65 years and older.
The case surveillance and testing information, including the regional locations of the confirmed and presumptive positive cases, is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.
As of March 23, 2020, the province of Saskatchewan has 14 new, confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 66 reported cases. • Sixty-five cases are confirmed and one case is presumptive positive. • Two of the cases are individuals in the 5-19 year old category; all others are adults. • 61 per cent of the cases are males and 39 per cent are females. • To date, 5,269 COVID-19 tests have been performed by Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory.
• As of Mar. 22, data showed 3 total cases are in the North, 4 in the Central, 21 in Saskatoon, 5 in the South, and 19 in Regina. Additional demographic information on these cases is not available at this time as public health officials are continuing their contact investigation. The case surveillance and testing information, including the regional locations of the confirmed and presumptive positive cases, is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19. Testing for COVID-19 If you are experiencing symptoms of fever and cough are note already self-isolating, self-isolate immediately and use the online self-assessment tool at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19. Contact HealthLine 811 if the assessment tool recommends it. HealthLine 811’s direction may include a COVID-19 test and details on where to be tested. The Saskatchewan Health Authority has testing sites operating in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Yorkton, Swift Current and Weyburn with 19 sites open across the integrated north and six integrated rural testing sites. Self-Isolation As individuals, we are responsible for ensuring our actions do not put others at risk of COVID-19. All travelers returning from international destinations - including the U.S. - are subject to a mandatory self-isolation order. Anyone identified by a Ministry of Health Official as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 shall go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from the date of having been exposed. • Do not go to work or school. • Do not go to public areas, including places of worship, stores, shopping malls and restaurants. • Cancel or reschedule non-urgent appointments; let them know you are on self-isolation. • Do not take buses, taxis or ride-sharing where you would be in contact with others. • Do not have visitors in your home. • Ask family/friends to drop off food or use delivery/pick-up services for errands such as grocery shopping. You may go outdoors - use your backyard, walk on your street or exercise outdoors - but only if you have no symptoms and can maintain the required social distance of two metres at all times. You must maintain proper hand hygiene and avoid contact with shared surfaces like handrails, pedestrian crosswalk buttons and outdoor playground equipment. Avoid all common spaces within shared accommodations like apartments and condominiums (ie. elevators, hallways) and public places where you cannot maintain this distance. With even mild symptoms of a cough, you must self-isolate indoors to prevent the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 Information Online Current information on self-isolation, personal protection measures and information for care providers is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19. Mar. 23 As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to rapidly evolve, the federal government announced $23.3 million in total support for the University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac), one of the largest and most advanced infectious disease research facilities in the world. As part of the government’s $275-million fund for COVID-19 health research, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that VIDO-InterVac will receive $12 million to help address Canada’s shortage of vaccine manufacturing capacity, as well as $11.3 million for continued operational funding for high containment laboratories over the coming year. “This new federal funding recognizes that VIDO-InterVac is at the forefront of global efforts to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 and other infectious disease threats,” said USask Vice-President of Research Karen Chad. “This is critical work at VIDO-InterVac that will help protect the health and safety of all Canadians, as well as people around the world.” VIDO-InterVac is constructing a pilot-scale manufacturing facility on campus to accelerate vaccine development in Canada and abroad. “The $12 million enables us to build the facility to Good Manufacturing Practices standards as required for human vaccine production,” said VIDO-InterVac Director Volker Gerdts. “We expect to begin vaccine production in a little more than a year.” There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19 coronavirus. VIDO-InterVac is the first lab in the country to have a vaccine candidate in animal testing. The vaccine was made in February, and researchers expect to know in about four weeks whether the vaccine works in an animal model. Clinical testing of this vaccine in humans could start as early as this fall. The $11.3 million comes through the Canada Foundation for Innovation under the federal Major Science Initiatives program which funds the operations of major science facilities. “InterVac is part of the national and global response to emerging disease threats such as COVID-19 in humans and African swine fever in animals,” said Gerdts, who is participating in three World Health Organization expert groups on animal model and vaccine development for COVID-19. As one of the few Canadian research facilities with regulatory approval to work on the new virus, VIDO-InterVac was the first lab in the country to isolate the virus. This was done over five weeks ago, in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Sunnybrook. The isolated virus was made available to federal and provincial laboratories. VIDO-InterVac is also the first lab in Canada, and one of the very few in the world, to establish an animal model for COVID-19. Suitable animal models are critical to evaluate vaccines, antivirals and therapeutics. The lab’s animal model is now available to industry and academic partners from around the world. In addition to vaccines, VIDO-InterVac is also testing antivirals and therapeutics from various Canadian and multinational companies, including two in China. A world leader in developing vaccines and technologies to combat infectious diseases, VIDO-InterVac was recently awarded $1 million through the federal rapid research funding initiative for research projects aimed at addressing COVID-19. In the recent provincial Estimates unveiled earlier in March, the Saskatchewan government announced $400,000 for VIDO-InterVac’s manufacturing facility. Innovation Saskatchewan also recently announced $200,000 for VIDO-InterVac’s COVID-19 research.
FCC lending capacity increases by $5B to alleviate industry financial pressure Farm Credit Canada (FCC)has received an enhancement to its capital base that will allow for an additional $5 billionin lending capacity, Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada announced today.
Minister Bibeau’s announcement follows Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement earlier today outlining more details on the Government of Canada’s plan to support the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. In that announcement, the government made a solid commitment to the agriculture and food industry to ensure producers, agribusinesses and food processors continue to have access to necessary capital at this challenging time.
“Farmers and producers work hard to put food on tables across our country, and they should not have to worry about being able to afford their loan payments or having enough money to support their own families,” the Prime Minister said. “We are taking action now to give them more flexibility to meet the challenges ahead.” “Like many Canadians, I am truly grateful for our farmers and food business owners and employees, who continue working hard so we all have quality food on our grocery store shelves and kitchen tables. Their continued work is essential to our plan to manage COVID-19,” Minister Bibeau said. “The measures announced today will provide farmers and food producers across the country with important financial flexibility they will need during these challenging times.”
“If you are a producer concerned about having the cash flow required to plant your crop, or you are a food processor feeling the impact of a lost sale due to the financial downturn, FCC is here to support you in these uncertain economic times,” said Michael Hoffort, FCC president and CEO. “It’s in times like these that we are reminded how important Canadian producers and food processors are to our nation and to feeding the world.”
Hoffort adds that FCC will use its resources to find solutions that offer the best chance for recovery going forward so the industry emerges stronger. Initially, the focus will be on assisting the industry in addressing cash flow challenges so that businesses can remain focused on business-critical functions rather than worrying about how to access funds to keep operating through this difficult time.
“Supporting the industry will also take strong collaboration between banks, credit unions, FCC and other financial institutions,” said Hoffort. “FCC has served as a strong and stable industry presence for more than 60 years, and this current situation is no different. We will be working in partnership with other financial providers to offer the solutions needed by the agriculture and food industry to take on the challenges ahead.” As part of its ongoing support efforts, FCC also is asking existing customers who have cash flow or other financial concerns to contact the organization to discuss alternatives, such as loan payment deferrals and products available to assist with cash flow needs.
“Each business’ financial situation is unique, so there may be a combination of options considered,” Hoffort said. “The bottom line is that FCC is being supported by our shareholder to play a bigger role in supporting the success of the Canadian agriculture and food industry across Canada. The sooner we can discuss potential challenges, the more options we have.”
Customers facing financial pressure are encouraged to contact their FCC relationship manager or the FCC Customer Service Centre at 1-888-332-3301 to discuss their individual situation and options.
Mar. 22 All laboratories focus on COVID-19 tests; routine testing limited
SHA Laboratory Provincial Program - Need to reduce routine testing menu to focus on COVID-19 pandemic until further notice
In order to prioritize available staff and resources to provide timely COVID-19 testing for the patients of Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Laboratory Medicine Provincial Program will begin to limit routine testing at all outpatient laboratories in the province effective 7 AM on Monday, March 23.
Testing related to prenatal, cancer and transplant patients will continue.
Statement from The City of Humboldt on COVID-19 RESPONSE: CONFIRMED LOCAL CASE Humboldt, SK – It has been brought to our attention that a confirmed COVID-19 case has been identified in our community. We would like to relieve some of the anxiety that has developed as this case was informally announced on social media. Mayor Muench said, "I received an email late last evening from the individual who has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The minute I saw it first thing this morning, I immediately contacted the City of Humboldt's Director of Protective Services, City Manager, and our MLA. We then contacted the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency and Saskatchewan Health Authority who confirmed in a conference call this afternoon that this individual has indeed tested positive. We have been working with these agencies and have established that all necessary steps are being taken." We have been assured that this individual is in self-isolation and is being monitored by health authorities. Saskatchewan Health Authority is attempting to determine how the transmittal occurred in this instance. "I have contacted the individual personally, and he has advised me he placed himself in self-isolation the moment he suspected that he was experiencing symptoms and sought medical attention. We are pleased to hear that he is following Provincial Orders and we wish him a speedy recovery," added Mayor Muench. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we would like to remind you that Provincial Orders have full authority, and the City does not have jurisdiction to supersede the Province in any capacity now or in future developments as COVID-19 unfolds. The Saskatchewan Health Authority will be taking additional steps later this week by way of setting up COVID-19 testing centres in various communities, including Humboldt. More information about this centre will be provided by the end of this week. In the interim, if you are concerned about your personal health, you are encouraged to contact the Saskatchewan Health Authority HealthLine at 8-1-1. City Council and administration cannot stress enough the importance of continuing to follow guidelines set down by the Province to protect you, your family, friends and your community. Please remember to: • wash your hands often • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth • practice social distancing • stay home if you are sick • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow • throw used tissues in the trash For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19, please visit: www.saskatchewan.ca/coronavirus .
EIGHT NEW, CONFIRMED CASES OF COVID-19 IN SASKATCHEWAN As of March 22, 2020, the province of Saskatchewan has eight new, confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 52 reported cases. • Thirty-three cases are confirmed and 19 cases are presumptive positive. • One of the cases is an individual in their late teens; all others are adults. • 62 per cent of the cases are male and 38 per cent are female. • To date, 4,536 COVID-19 tests have been performed by Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory. Additional demographic information on these cases is not available at this time, as public health officials are continuing their contact investigation. The case surveillance and testing information, including the regional locations of the confirmed and presumptive positive cases, is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19. Use Social Distancing As individuals, we are responsible for ensuring our actions do not put others at risk. Social distancing means avoiding close contact with others to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Keep a minimum distance of two metres from others when shopping or walking in the community. COVID-19 Information Online Current information on self-isolation, personal protection measures and information for care providers is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19. Use the online symptom self assessment tool to determine if you should contact HealthLine 811. Public inquiries may be directed to COVID19@health.gov.sk.ca.
Mar. 21 COVID-19: CONFIRMATORY TESTS AND SURVEILLANCE UPDATE The Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory (RRPL) now has the ability to do confirmatory testing for COVID-19. As a result, all of the new cases reported today have already been confirmed and we will no longer be reporting on presumptive cases. This will also speed up the dissemination of results to physicians and individuals tested. Although some of the earlier presumptive positive cases that were sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg are still awaiting confirmation, from now on we will no longer have to wait for these confirmatory results. Regardless of whether a case is confirmed positive all presumptive cases must remain in self-isolation. The RRPL is processing about 456 COVID-19 tests a day. COVID-19 Surveillance As of March 21, 2020, Saskatchewan has 17 new positive cases and one presumptive positive case. The province now has 44 cases of COVID-19 in total: 25 cases are confirmed and 19 cases are presumptive. All of the cases (confirmed and presumptive) were 20 years of age and older with the exception of one case, which is still under investigation. The largest percentage of these cases are male at 65 per cent while females make up 35 per cent. Public health officials are continuing their contact investigation. A reminder that on Friday, March 20, 2020, the Chief Medical Health Officer updated the public health order under The Public Health Act and new measures were put into place to further reduce the risk of potential COVID-19 transmission in the province. The following measures are now in effect: • Public gatherings of more than 25 people in one room are prohibited except where two metre distancing between people can be maintained; workplace and meeting settings where people are distributed into multiple rooms or buildings; and retail locations (ie. grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations). • The closure of all nightclubs, bars, lounges and similar facilities. Permitted is take out of alcohol or food products with two metre distancing between customers and the delivery of alcohol or food products. • In-person classes in all primary and secondary educational institutions both public and private are suspended. • Visitors to long-term care homes, hospitals, personal care homes, and group homes shall be restricted to family visiting for compassionate reasons. Mandatory Self-Isolation. • Effective immediately, all persons that have traveled internationally shall go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from date of arrival back into Canada. • Health Care workers who have traveled internationally, truckers, rail, airline or other working crews are exempt from this advisory only if they are required to work to maintain essential services, provide emergency health care services and maintain supply chain, and are supervised by Infection, Prevention Control Officers and/or Occupational Health and Safety in the workplace. • All persons who have been identified by a Medical Health Officer as a close contact of a person or persons with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) shall go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from the date of last having been exposed to COVID-19. • All persons who have become symptomatic while on mandatory self-isolation shall call HealthLine 811 and follow HealthLine’s directives. • All persons who are household members of a person having laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 shall immediately go into mandatory self-isolation, call HealthLine 811 and follow HealthLine’s directives. Effective March 23, 2020: • The closure of restaurants, food courts, cafeterias, cafes, bistros and similar facilities. Exceptions are take out with two metre distancing between customers during pick-up; drive through food services; delivery of food products; soup kitchens, not-for-profit community and religious kitchens with two metre distancing between tables. • The closure of all recreational and entertainment facilities including fitness centers, casinos, bingo halls, arenas, curling rinks, swimming pools, galleries, theatres, museums and similar facilities. • The closure of all personal service facilities including tattooists, hairdressers, barbers, acupuncturists, acupressurists, cosmetologists, electrologists, estheticians, relaxation masseuses, manicurists, pedicurists, suntanning parlours, facilities in which body piercing, bone grafting or scarification services and personal service facilities including massage therapists, except where urgently and medically necessary. • The closure of dental, optometrist, chiropractic, registered massage therapy and podiatry clinics except for non-elective procedures. • All daycare facilities are limited to maximum of eight children unless they can configure the facility so that a maximum of eight children are kept in room and be in accordance with the Saskatchewan child care guidelines for care. • All daycares that are co-located with a long term care or personal care home that meet the above restriction shall be segregated with a private entrance so that there are no shared common areas with the home and no interaction between daycare children and residents of the facility. COVID-19 Information Online Current information on self-isolation, personal protection measures and information for care providers is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19. Use the online symptom self-assessment tool to determine if you should contact HealthLine 811. Public inquiries may be directed to COVID19@health.gov.sk.ca.
Mar. 20 COVID-19: ADDITIONAL MEASURES TO PROTECT SASKATCHEWAN RESIDENTS Expanded Public Health Order For Mandatory Self-Isolation, Gatherings
The Chief Medical Health Officer is updating the public health order under The Public Health Act to further reduce the risk of potential COVID-19 transmission in the province. At the same time, Premier Scott Moe today signed an order pursuant to the provincial State of Emergency directing that all orders of the government and Chief Medical Health Officer must be followed and that law enforcement agencies in Saskatchewan have the full authority to enforce those orders.
Moe said he was particularly concerned that some individuals returning from international travel were not following the 14-day self-isolation policy.
“I know that the vast majority of Saskatchewan people are taking their personal responsibility seriously and following this order,” Moe said. “But a few are not. This is not a suggestion. It is not a guideline. It is the law and it must be followed.”
In consultation with the Minister of Health, the following measures are effective immediately: • Public gatherings of more than 25 people in one room are prohibited except where two metre distancing between people can be maintained; workplace and meeting settings where people are distributed into multiple rooms or buildings; and retail locations (ie. grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations). • The closure of all nightclubs, bars, lounges and similar facilities. Take out of alcohol or food products so permitted with two metre distancing between customers and the delivery of alcohol or food products. • In-person classes in all primary and secondary educational institutions both public and private are suspended. • Visitors to long-term care homes, hospitals, personal care homes, and group homes shall be restricted to family visiting for compassionate reasons.
• Effective immediately, all persons that have travelled internationally shall go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from date of arrival back into Canada. • Health Care workers who have traveled internationally, truckers, rail, airline or other working crews are exempt from this advisory only if they are required to work to maintain essential services, provide emergency health care services and maintain supply chain, and are supervised by Infection, Prevention Control Officers and/or Occupational Health and Safety in the workplace. • All persons who have been identified by a Medical Health Officer as a close contact of a person or persons with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) shall go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from the date of last having been exposed to COVID-19. • All persons who have become symptomatic while on mandatory self-isolation shall call HealthLine 811 and follow HealthLine’s directives. • All persons who are household members of a person having laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 shall immediately go into mandatory self-isolation, call HealthLine 811 and follow HealthLine’s directives.
Effective March 23, 2020
• The closure of restaurants, food courts, cafeterias, cafes, bistros and similar facilities. Exceptions are take out with two metre distancing between customers during pick-up; drive through food services; delivery of food products; soup kitchens, not-for-profit community and religious kitchens with two metre distancing between tables. • The closure of all recreational and entertainment facilities including fitness centers, casinos, bingo halls, arenas, curling rinks, swimming pools, galleries, theatres, museums and similar facilities. • The closure of all personal service facilities including tattooists, hairdressers, barbers, acupuncturists, acupressurists, cosmetologists, electrologists, estheticians, manicurists, pedicurists, suntanning parlours, relaxation masseuses, facilities in which body piercing, bone grafting or scarification services. • The closure of dental, optometrist, chiropractic, registered massage therapy and podiatry clinics except for non-elective procedures. • All daycare facilities are limited to maximum of eight children unless they can configure the facility so that a maximum of eight children are kept in room and be in accordance with the Saskatchewan child care guidelines for care. • All daycares that are co-located with a long-term care or personal care home that meet the above restriction shall be segregated with a private entrance so that there are no shared common areas with the home and no interaction between daycare children and residents of the facility.
As of March 20, 2020, Saskatchewan has six new, presumptive positive cases. The province now has 26 cases of COVID-19: eight cases are confirmed and 18 cases are presumptive.
Twenty-four of the 26 cases are well enough to self-isolate at home at present; two individuals are currently in hospital, admitted for medical reasons not related to respiratory illness.
• An individual in their 20s was tested in Regina following travel to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. • An individual in their 20s was tested in Regina following travel in the U.S. • An individual in their 50s was tested in Regina following travel to Jordan. • Two individuals in their 60s were tested in Prince Albert following travel from Arizona. • An individual in their 60s was tested in Regina.
Public health is actively compiling additional information on this case; additional detail is not yet available.
Public health officials are completing contact investigations on all cases. Mar. 20 COVID-19 UPDATE – CHILD CARE OPTIONS FOR HEALTH WORKERS AND OTHER PANDEMIC RESPONSE WORKERS
The Government of Saskatchewan is re-purposing child care facilities in schools to provide child care services to support staff in health care and other employees who are delivering services related to the pandemic response, beginning Monday, March 23. The child care centres in schools have been closed to existing clients as of March 20. Parents in those centres are receiving communication directly from their child care providers about this change. “We thank the child care providers in schools for working with us during this extraordinary time to provide this essential service for our health care and other pandemic response service employees,” Deputy Premier and Education Minister Gordon Wyant said. “We know the impact this change has on families but during these times we are looking for everyone to contribute to the support for the broad community response to the COVID-19 virus.” Priority for these spaces will be given to staff in health care and other pandemic response workers for infant, toddler, preschool or school age children, that require care as those individuals continue to provide support in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The list of eligible people for the emergency and pandemic response child care spaces includes:
Employees directly related to providing essential services in health care including employees working in hospitals, long-term care facilities, community and primary health, home care, personal care homes, labs, pharmacies, COVID-19 assessment and testing sites, scheduling departments, and payroll departments including nurses, physicians and physician clinic staff, emergency medical services staff, and other staff essential to the operations of these facilities/departments.
Employees working directly in child protection, income assistance, and community living connected to the Ministry of Social Services
Employees working directly in residential services connected to the Ministry of Social Services
Child care centre employees of licensed child care facilities
Employees directly related to providing essential services in SaskPower, SaskEnergy, SaskTel, water and wastewater management
Employees directly related to providing essential services for police and fire.
Note: This is subject to change. Employers are being notified today to provide information to those workers related to the pandemic. An application and information about the process for those who are delivering services related to the pandemic response is available on www.saskatchewan.ca/coronavirus. Child care centres not located in schools are able to continue to operate as normal, and government funding will continue to be provided. Any changes regarding closures will be based on the advice of the Chief Medical Health Officer of Saskatchewan.
Mar. 19, 2020 CASE SURVEILLANCE INFORMATION AT SASKATCHEWAN.CA/COVID19
As of March 19, 2020, Saskatchewan has four new, presumptive positive cases for COVID-19. The provincial total for cases is now 20: 12 are presumptive positive and eight are now confirmed, following verification from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.
Surveillance information on COVID-19 cases and testing is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19. Public health officials are completing contact investigations on all cases now.
Three of the four presumptive positive cases are related to travel and one is a close contact of a previously reported case. Nineteen of the twenty cases are well enough to self-isolate at home at present; one presumptive positive case is in hospital for medical reasons not related to COVID-19. On March 18, the Government of Saskatchewan implemented a number of measures to support social distancing and prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
These include: • Prohibiting public gatherings larger than 50 people are prohibited; • Closing all gyms, fitness centres, casinos and bingo halls; and • Limiting all restaurants, bars and event venues seating to 50 per cent of capacity or up to a maximum of fifty people, whichever is lesser and must be able to ensure social distance of one to two metres between customers. Retail spaces including grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations are exempt from this policy but must have processes to maintain a one to two metre separation between customers. The Government of Saskatchewan has introduced amendments to The Saskatchewan Employment Act to remove the provision requiring a doctor’s note or certificate in order to access leave.
Requesting written verification from physicians or HealthLine 811 is unnecessary and prevents these resources from being properly utilized at this time. All workplaces and organizations should be implementing their business continuity plans or assessing the risk of exposure and transmission for their staff and clients and make operational decisions accordingly.
Self-Isolation Self-isolation is required for 14 days after returning from travel outside Canada; for individuals who have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19; and for individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19 and well enough to stay at home. Self-isolation means staying home and avoiding situations where there is a potential to spread respiratory illness to others: work, school, sporting events, social, cultural and religious gatherings and public places such as restaurants and malls. Avoid public transportation. If a member of your household is self-isolating, they should make every effort to stay apart from the other members of that household. This includes separate sleeping areas and bathrooms, if possible. Maintain social distancing (one to two metres) with members of your household. Do not share utensils, bedding, electronic devices, etc. and clean high-touch-shared surfaces frequently. If you are sharing living space with someone who is self-isolating, you are required to self-monitor. This means actively monitoring for symptoms including taking your temperature twice daily. Be prepared to self-isolate immediately yourself if you develop a fever or cough.
Should I be tested? The COVID-19 self-assessment tool is available online at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19. Use this application to assist you in determining whether to seek further medical direction. Note that any use of the former URL will redirect residents to the new site. Public inquiries may be directed to COVID19@health.gov.sk.ca.
Mar. 18, 2020
COVID-19: SASKATCHEWAN DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY, IMPOSES ADDITIONAL MEASURES TO PROTECT SASKATCHEWAN RESIDENTS
The Government of Saskatchewan today declared a provincial State of Emergency, giving the government broad powers to address the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes measures like the ability to limit travel to or from a community or region of the province and directing that property or equipment be deployed to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Health Officer, also made a number of new orders to reduce the risk to Saskatchewan people, prevent transmission and ensure that acute care services are preserved for residents most at risk for severe illness. The following measures are effective immediately: • Public gatherings larger than 50 people are prohibited. • All restaurants, bars and event venues must limit their seating to 50 per cent of capacity or up to a maximum of fifty people, whichever is lesser. All must be able to ensure social distance of one to two metres between customers. Retail spaces including grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations are exempted from this policy but must have processes to maintain a one to two metre separation. • All gyms, fitness centres, casinos and bingo halls are ordered to close until further notice. • Residents are advised to limit any non-essential travel outside of Saskatchewan, with the exception of people who live in border communities and are commuting for work. • Any licensed restaurants and taverns in Saskatchewan will be permitted to sell alcohol as an offsale according to SLGA regulations indefinitely. • All crown utilities will implement bill-deferral programs allowing a zero-interest bill deferral for up to six months for Saskatchewan residents whose ability to make bill payments may be impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions. • All Government of Saskatchewan ministries, agencies and Crown corporations will implement a phased-in work from home policy effective Monday, March 23, applicable to employees deemed non-essential. This means that any employees able to work from home should do so immediately, while providing managers a period to plan for work-force continuity. The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) will be discontinuing all non-urgent/elective surgeries, procedures and diagnostics as of March 23. This action will allow the SHA the ability to redeploy nurses and other staff and ensure medical supplies and personal protective equipment are available when needed and reduce risk of further exposure to our care providers and patients. The SHA will continue to provide services to patients who require emergent and urgent care. Cancer, urgent and emergent surgeries will continue as planned. Patients will be contacted regarding their scheduled service. Parents with children in daycares should be preparing for further restrictions.
Mar. 18, 2020 COVID-19: ADDITIONAL PRESUMPTIVE CASES IDENTIFIED As of March 18, 2020, Saskatchewan has eight new, presumptive positive cases. With the previously reported two confirmed cases and six presumptive positives, the province now has 16 cases of COVID-19. Public health officials are completing contact investigations on all cases now. Fifteen of the sixteen cases are well enough to self-isolate at home at present; one presumptive positive case is in hospital for medical reasons not related to COVID-19. “This is a critical time for all individuals and organizations to ensure that they are practicing social distancing, staying home whenever possible and absolutely staying home when you are ill, even with mild symptoms,” Saskatchewan Provincial Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said. “We have an instance where the contact investigation has not yet demonstrated a link to travel, which could signal local transmission. We will also see more cases linked to travel within Canada. Limit all non-essential travel at this time as part of the provincial and national effort to prevent transmission.”
An individual in their 30s was tested in Regina.
An individual in their 40s was tested following close contact with a previously announced presumptive positive case in Saskatchewan.
An individual in their 20s was tested in Saskatoon following travel from Tennessee.
An individual in their 20s was tested in Saskatoon following travel to Oregon, Nevada and Edmonton.
An individual was tested in Moose Jaw following their travel from Vancouver.
An individual was tested in Regina following their travel from Cancun, Mexico.
An individual was tested in Regina following their travel from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
An individual in their 40s was tested in Saskatoon following their travel from Vancouver.
Note that demographic information on these presumptive positive cases is still being gathered as part of public health’s ongoing contact investigations. All persons returning from international destinations, including the U.S., are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon return to Canada. Public health officials request all individuals on Sunwing flights WG540 and WG496 of March 14 to self-isolate and actively monitor for symptoms. Flight Destinations Date Sunwing WG540 Cancun to Regina March 14 Sunwing WG496 Cabo San Lucas to Regina March 14 The COVID-19 self-assessment tool available at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19 can assist you in determining whether to seek further medical direction. Unsure of your symptoms? Visit www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19 and use the self-assessment tool to determine if you should contact HealthLine 811.
Mar. 18, 2020 SaskPower taking steps to help customers during COVID-19 Effective immediately, SaskPower is suspending active collections and will defer disconnecting residential customers for non-payment. These actions are being taken to provide relief to customers who may be affected by COVID-19. “The health and safety of our employees and customers is SaskPower’s top priority,” said Shawn Schmidt, SaskPower Vice-President, Distribution and Customer Services. “We know the impact of the current pandemic can affect household finances, and that is why we are taking these measures today.” Any SaskPower customers who are concerned about their ability to pay their bills because of COVID-19 are encouraged to call 1-888-757-6937. Customers whose power has already been disconnected or who currently have a load limiter on their residence can also call to be reconnected or have the limiter removed. Flexible payment arrangements will continue to be available to customers during the pandemic. All customers will ultimately be responsible to pay for the power they use. More information about SaskPower’s activities during COVID-19 can be found at www.saskpower.com.
Mar. 18, 2020 The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses. Support for CanadiansTemporary Income Support for Workers and ParentsFor Canadians without paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation) who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children, the Government is:
Waiving the one-week waiting period for those individuals in imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. This temporary measure is in effect as of March 15, 2020.
Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to:
Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not quality for EI sickness benefits.
Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.
Application for the Benefit will be available in April 2020, and require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. They will need to re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm their eligibility. Canadians will select one of three channels to apply for the Benefit:
by accessing it on their CRA MyAccount secure portal;
by accessing it from their secure My Service Canada Account; or
by calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process.
Longer-Term Income Support for WorkersFor Canadians who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of COVID’s impact, the Government is:
Introducing an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the CRA to provide up to $5.0 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
Implementing the EI Work Sharing Program, which provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hour as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers, by extending the eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks, easing eligibility requirements, and streamlining the application process. This was announced by the Prime Minister on March 11, 2020.
Income Support for Individuals Who Need It MostFor over 12 million low- and modest-income families, who may require additional help with their finances, the Government is proposing to provide a one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC). This will double the maximum annual GSTC payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year. The average boost to income for those benefitting from this measure will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. This measure will inject $5.5 billion into the economy. For over 3.5 million families with children, who may also require additional support, the Government is proposing to increase the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment amounts, only for the 2019-20 benefit year, by $300 per child. The overall increase for families receiving CCB will be approximately $550 on average; these families will receive an extra $300 per child as part of their May payment. In total, this measure will deliver almost $2 billion in extra support. Together, the proposed enhancements of the GSTC and CCB will give a single parent with two children and low to modest income nearly $1,500 in additional short-term support. To ensure that certain groups who may be vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 have the support they need, the Government is proposing targeted help by:
Providing $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.
Placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all individuals currently in the process of repaying these loans.
Reducing required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020, in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings. This will provide flexibility to seniors that are concerned that they may be required to liquidate their RRIF assets to meet minimum withdrawal requirements. Similar rules would apply to individuals receiving variable benefit payments under a defined contribution Registered Pension Plan.
Providing the Reaching Home initiative with $157.5 million to continue to support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding could be used for a range of needs such as purchasing beds and physical barriers for social distancing and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters.
Supporting women and children fleeing violence, by providing up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities. This includes funding for facilities in Indigenous communities.
Flexibility for TaxpayersIn order to provide greater flexibility to Canadians who may be experiencing hardships during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Canada Revenue Agency will defer the filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals, including certain trusts.
For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020. However, the Agency encourages individuals who expect to receive benefits under the GSTC or the Canada Child Benefit not to delay the filing of their return to ensure their entitlements for the 2020-21 benefit year are properly determined.
For trusts having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019, the return filing due date will be deferred until May 1, 2020.
The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. In order to reduce the necessity for taxpayers and tax preparers to meet in person during this difficult time, and to reduce administrative burden, effective immediately the Canada Revenue Agency will recognize electronic signatures as having met the signature requirements of the Income Tax Act, as a temporary administrative measure. This provision applies to authorization forms T183 or T183CORP, which are forms that are signed in person by millions of Canadians every year to authorize tax preparers to file taxes. The Canada Revenue Agency is adapting its Outreach Program to support individuals during COVID-19. Through this service, the Canada Revenue Agency offers help to individuals to better understand their tax obligations and to obtain the benefits and credits to which they are entitled. Traditionally available in-person, this service is now available over the phone, and through webinar, where possible. The Canada Revenue Agency fully expects that many community organizations are considering whether to significantly reduce or perhaps cancel the provision of services provided under the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. Additional efforts to encourage individuals to file their tax and benefit returns electronically, or where possible, through the File My Return service, will be put forward. Role of Financial InstitutionsThe Minister of Finance is in regular contact with the heads of Canada’s large banks, and continues to encourage them to show flexibility in helping their customers whose personal or business finances are affected by COVID-19. The Superintendent of Financial Institutions has also made clear his expectation that banks will use the additional lending capacity provided by recent government actions to support Canadian businesses and households. In response, banks in Canada have affirmed their commitment to working with customers to provide flexible solutions, on a case-by-case basis, for managing through hardships caused by recent developments. This may include situations such as pay disruption, childcare disruption, or illness. Canada’s large banks have confirmed that this support will include up to a 6-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products. These targeted measures respond to immediate challenges being faced across the country and will help stabilize the Canadian economy. Mortgage Default Management ToolsThe Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and other mortgage insurers offer tools to lenders that can assist homeowners who may be experiencing financial difficulty. These include payment deferral, loan re-amortization, capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible expenses, and special payment arrangements. The Government, through CMHC, is providing increased flexibility for homeowners facing financial difficulties to defer mortgage payments on homeowner CMHC-insured mortgage loans. CMHC will permit lenders to allow payment deferral beginning immediately. Support for BusinessesThe Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to support Canadian businesses facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 13, 2020, Minister of Finance Bill Morneau, Governor of the Bank of Canada Stephen Poloz, and Superintendent of Financial Institutions Jeremy Rudin outlined a coordinated package of measures to support the functioning of markets, the resilience of our financial sector, and continued access to financing for Canadian businesses. These actions will significantly increase the availability of credit to businesses of all sizes, sustain liquidity in key financial markets, and provide flexibility to businesses experiencing hardship. On March 18, 2020 the government and its partners announced further measures to support businesses. These actions are part of Canada’s whole-of-government response to COVID-19, and the significant stimulus program developed to stabilize Canada’s economy, support businesses and to protect Canadians. Supporting Canadian Business through the Canada AccountThe government is changing the Canada Account so that the Minister of Finance would now be able to determine the limit of the Canada Account in order to deal with exceptional circumstances. The Canada Account is administered by Export Development Canada (EDC) and is used by the government to support exporters when deemed to be in the national interest. This will allow the government to provide additional support to Canadian companies through loans, guarantees or insurance policies during these challenging times. Helping Businesses Keep their WorkersTo support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities. Flexibility for Businesses Filing TaxesThe Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. The Canada Revenue Agency will not contact any small or medium (SME) businesses to initiate any post assessment GST/HST or Income Tax audits for the next four weeks. For the vast majority of businesses, the Canada Revenue Agency will temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and representatives. The Liaison Officer service offers help to owners of small businesses to understand their tax obligations. Traditionally available in-person, this service is now available over the phone and will be customizing information during these challenging times by ensuring small businesses are aware of any changes such as filing and payment deadlines, proactive relief measures, etc. Ensuring Businesses Have Access to CreditThe Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses. This will be an effective tool for helping viable Canadian businesses remain resilient during these very uncertain times. BDC and EDC are cooperating with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation and tourism. The near term credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector will also be increased through Farm Credit Canada. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced it is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer by 1.25% of risk-weighted assets, effective immediately. This action will allow Canada’s large banks to inject $300 billion of additional lending in to the economy. The Bank of Canada also took a series of actions to support the Canadian economy during this period of economic stress, enhance the resilience of the Canadian financial system, and help ensure that financial institutions can continue to extend credit to both households and businesses. This included cutting the interest rate to 0.75% as a proactive measure in light of the negative shocks to Canada’s economy arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent sharp drop in oil prices. Supporting Financial Market LiquidityAs a further proactive and coordinated measure to bolster the financial system and the Canadian economy, the government announced on March 16 that it is launching an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program (IMPP). Under this program, the government will purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This action will provide long-term stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders, help facilitate continued lending to Canadian consumers and businesses, and add liquidity to Canada’s mortgage market. Details of the terms of the purchase operations will be provided to lenders by CMHC later this week. The IMPP enhances the already substantial set of measures announced on March 13 to support the economy and the financial system. CMHC stands ready to further support liquidity and the stability of the financial markets through its mortgage funding programs as necessary. Further, the Bank of Canada has announced that it will adjust its market liquidity operations to maintain market functioning and credit availability during the current period of uncertainty in which conditions are evolving rapidly. The Bank of Canada also announced that it will broaden eligible collateral for its term repo facility to include the full range of collateral eligible under the Standing Liquidity Facility, with the exception of the non-mortgage loan portfolio. This expansion of eligible collateral will provide support to funding conditions for financial institutions by providing a backstop to regular private funding. The Bank also announced that it stands ready, as a proactive measure, to provide support to the Canada Mortgage Bond (CMB) market so that this important funding market continues to function well. This would include, as required, purchases of CMBs in the secondary market. Similar to the increase in Government of Canada bond buybacks, this will support market liquidity and price discovery.
Mar. 17 ,2020 COVID-19: EIGHTH PRESUMPTIVE POSITIVE CASE RECORDED
Saskatchewan has its eighth presumptive positive case of COVID-19. The resident in their 50s was tested in Regina, following travel to Vancouver. The individual is self-isolating at home. Public Health officials are following up with individuals who had close contact with this case who may be at risk of developing COVID-19. You will be notified if you are a close contact and need to take further measures.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is recommending residents postpone or cancel all non-essential travel outside of Canada. All travellers are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days after returning to Canada as a precaution. What is the difference between self-isolate and self-monitor? Self-isolation is a precautionary approach to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 by people that have been in an area of high disease spread or in close contact with a person with COVID-19. Stay home. Do not attend work, school, daycare, university, social, sporting or cultural events or religious gatherings. You may not have any symptoms or may have mild symptoms that can be managed at home. If symptoms develop or worsen, call HealthLine 811 for assessment and direction. Self-monitoring means watching closely for symptoms in yourself or your dependents including taking your temperature twice daily. You do not have restrictions on attending work or school but should avoid crowded public spaces and at-risk populations (those with weakened immune systems or individuals 65 years of age and older). If self-monitoring, have a plan on how to quickly self-isolate if you develop fever, cough or difficulty breathing. At the first sign of symptoms, you should self-isolate. COVID-19 Information:
For the latest advice to the public and information on prevention measures being taken, visit www.saskatchewan.ca.
Mar. 17, 2020
ENSURING LEAVE FOR EMPLOYEES DURING PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCIES Today, the Government of Saskatchewan introduced amendments to The Saskatchewan Employment Act ensuring employees have access to job protected leaves during a public health emergency.
“We want to thank workers across Saskatchewan for everything they do,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan said. “No one should lose their job for continuing to prioritize health and safety during this public health emergency.” The proposed amendments to the Act are: • to remove the requirement of 13 consecutive weeks of employment with the employer prior to accessing sick leave; • to remove the provision requiring a doctor’s note or certificate; and • introduction of a new unpaid public health emergency leave that can be accessed: o when the World Health Organization has determined that there is a public health emergency and the province’s chief medical health officer has also issued an order that measures be taken to reduce the spread of a disease; or o the province’s chief medical health officer has independently issued an order that measures be taken provincially to reduce the spread of a disease where it is believed there is sufficient risk of harm to citizens of the province. The orders would also be made public to ensure everyone is aware of the direction.
The amendments to the Act would come into force retroactive to March 6, 2020. “We also want to thank the members of the Opposition for their assistance in moving this act forward in a timely way so that employees have the peace of mind needed during public health emergencies,” Morgan said. March 17 MINISTRY OF EDUCATION UPDATE – COVID-19
As schools wind down this week in response to COVID-19, a Response Planning Team has been assembled to work through the logistics of the transition.
The team, which began its work yesterday, consists of individuals from the Ministry of Education, Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation, Saskatchewan School Boards Association, the Saskatchewan Association of School Business Officials and the Saskatchewan League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents.
“I have every confidence in our partners in education that they will make the best possible recommendations as we transition students out of Saskatchewan Prekindergarten to Grade 12 classrooms,” Deputy Premier and Education Minister Gordon Wyant said. “The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to supporting our students and staff in these uncertain times.”
Planning is underway to ensure students continue to have supplementary learning through distance opportunities and take-home resource kits; as well as logistics to ensure backroom functions such as staff assignments and payroll.
Additional information will be provided as the Response Planning Team’s work continues. The next meeting will be held today.
PROVINCE ANNOUNCES CLASS SUSPENSIONS EFFECTIVE MARCH 20, WIND DOWN PERIOD UNTIL THURSDAY
Monday, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that all classes in Saskatchewan pre K-12 Schools will be suspended indefinitely, effective March 20, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For the period of March 16 to March 19, pre K-12 classes will wind down. This means that parents who are able to keep children home should do so immediately, with no absence or grade impacts. Parents with limited childcare options have a window to plan for class suspensions. On Sunday, March 15, the Chief Medical Health Officer indicated that school closures would be based on a number of factors including: • Evidence of sustained transmission within the community; • Rapid increase of local cases; and • Transmission without a known link to travel or confirmed cases. There continues to be no evidence that any of the above three criteria have been met. Children remaining in schools between March 16 and March 19 face a low risk of exposure to COVID-19. A preventative approach of proactive school closures beginning March 20 means reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Every student will receive a final grade based on their current grade, and students will progress to their next grade level next year. Every student who is eligible to graduate from Grade 12 this year will graduate. The Ministry of Education and School Divisions will work with Saskatchewan Post-Secondary Institutions to adapt entry requirements for programs commencing in the next academic year. Teachers and staff can work from home or in schools as scheduled during the class cancellations. For the rest of the scheduled school year, the Ministry of Education will work with School Divisions and Saskatchewan Teachers to implement a supplemental curriculum program through distance and alternative learning methods. While this supplemental curriculum will have no impact on final grades, it will ensure that students seeking to continue learning will have the resources necessary to do so. These measures apply to daycares that are co-located with schools, but do not apply to licensed daycare facilities outside of schools. Further measures regarding licensed daycare facilities are being considered and will be implemented at a later date. Officials are currently examining options to provide childcare services for individuals that are providing essential services during the COVID-19 response. COVID-19 Information: We understand that residents have questions about COVID-19 in Saskatchewan. If you have recently travelled internationally and are experiencing respiratory or flu-like symptoms, please call HealthLine 811. For the latest advice to the public and information on prevention measures being taken, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/coronavirus. Mar 16, 2020 PROVINCE FURTHER ENHANCES COVID-19 PREVENTION MEASURES
Monday, the Government of Saskatchewan announced further COVID-19 prevention measures. Chief Medical Health Officer Orders: The Chief Medical Health Officer of Saskatchewan has made the following order pursuant to Section 45 of The Public Health Act effective Monday, March 16: • The Chief Medical Health Officer orders that visitors to long-term care homes, hospitals, personal care homes and group homes are restricted to essential visitors only. Essential visitors means immediate family visiting during compassionate reasons. • Faith based organizations are no longer exempt to public gathering restrictions ordering that no public gathering of over 250 people in any one room take place. Updated Travel Guidelines: Over the weekend, the Federal Government and Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer recommended that any residents currently travelling internationally should return to Canada while commercial options are available. The Federal Government and Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer also recommend avoiding all non-essential international travel until further notice. All travellers returning from international destinations - including the United States – need to self-isolate and monitor their health for 14 days upon return. Travellers returning from within Canada are advised to self-monitor for 14 days upon return. New COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool: The Government of Saskatchewan has launched a new COVID-19 self-assessment tool to determine whether Saskatchewan residents should be tested for COVID-19. Residents can complete this assessment for themselves or on behalf of someone else, if they are not able. The self-assessment tool can be accessed here at https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-self-assessment. SaskGaming Casino Closures: SaskGaming will suspend operations and temporarily close Casinos Regina and Moose Jaw until further notice upon advice of public health officials on the COVID-19 outbreak. The Government of Saskatchewan is encouraging non-SaskGaming casinos operated by SIGA to voluntarily suspend operations until further notice, in line with the actions taken by SaskGaming. COVID-19 Information: We understand that residents have questions about COVID-19 in Saskatchewan. If you have recently travelled internationally and are experiencing respiratory or flu-like symptoms, please call HealthLine 811. For the latest advice to the public and information on prevention measures being taken, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/coronavirus. Mar. 15, 2020 SASKATCHEWAN KEEPING SCHOOLS OPEN FOR NOW
While concern over spread of Coronavirus COVID-19 continues to rise, the risk in Saskatchewan still remains low but is increasing. The decision to close schools is made upon the advice of the provincial Chief Medical Health Officer. We all need to ensure we are taking measures as individuals to maintain social distancing including staying home if sick and keeping children out of school if sick. “Any recommendation to close schools is based on risk assessment and made on a case-by-case basis,” Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Office Dr. Saqib Shahab said. “The decision to close schools should not be made in the absence of valid public health reasons and the benefits and risks need to be considered carefully.” The positive cases in Saskatchewan are still primarily travel-related and there is no sustained community transmission at this time. As we learn more or if the situation changes there could be school closures locally on the direction of the local Medical Health Officer or more broadly on the direction of the Chief Medical Health Officer. The criteria for school closures is based on a number of factors including: • Evidence of sustained transmission within the community • Rapid increase of local cases • Transmission without a known link to travel or confirmed cases. New Travel Guidance for Residents Travelling Internationally and Returning to Saskatchewan: The Federal Government and Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer recommend returning to Canada and avoiding non-essential international travel until further notice.
All travellers returning from international destinations - including the United States – need to self-isolate and monitor their health for 14 days upon return. Travellers returning from within Canada are advised to self-monitor for 14 days upon return. Members of the public who have travelled outside the province in the previous 14 days should not visit hospitals or long-term care facilities.
COVID-19 INFORMATION We understand that residents have questions about COVID-19 in Saskatchewan.
If you have recently travelled internationally and are experiencing respiratory or flu-like symptoms, please call HealthLine 811.
Mar. 14, 2020 Visitor Restrictions Implemented in Saskatchewan Health Facilities In an effort to minimize and contain the spread of COVID-19, the Saskatchewan Health Authority is implementing visitor restrictions effective immediately for SHA-operated hospitals, clinics, community and continuing care facilities.
For patients who are in critical care or high acuity units in SHA hospitals, visitors will be restricted to one at a time, unless extenuating circumstances exist.
All community, foundation and other public and spiritual gatherings within any SHA-operated facility are on hold effective immediately until further notice.
We are suspending the services provided by community volunteers who are 65 years of age or older, in non-essential service areas. We appreciate their service and dedication, and thank them for their support. However, we need to ensure proper measures are taken to limit non-essential community interaction in our facilities. Non-essential volunteer service areas are determined by each individual facility.
We acknowledge the importance of family support to both those who are healing within our hospitals and residents in long-term care homes. However, we are asking families recognize that our patients and long-term residents are higher at-risk group for illness, especially COVID-19. Please delay your visit under the following circumstances:
If you have any respiratory or gastric symptoms such as a common cold symptoms, diarrhea/vomiting.
If you have travelled outside the province within the last 14 days or have flu-like symptoms do not visit long-term care homes, clinics or hospitals.
While we aren’t restricting visitation at this point outside of critical care areas, we are asking all family members and visitors to be diligent with all illness prevention, which includes limiting the number of visitors to loved ones in hospitals or homes. Please consider virtual visiting through electronic applications such as Facetime, Skype and WhatsApp. Hand washing/sanitization stations are available at all facility entrances and we request that anyone entering our facilities practice proper hand hygiene upon entry.
While we understand the benefit that family and loved ones contribute to the overall comfort and care of patients, these steps are being taken to keep patients safe and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at this time.
Mar 14, 2020 SASKATCHEWAN CONFIRMS NEW PRESUMPTIVE CASES OF COVID-19 Four new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Saskatchewan, bringing the total number of cases in the province to six. One resident, a health care worker in their 30s, has a recent history of travel to Nigeria and Germany, as well as Alberta. The individual is recovering in northern Saskatchewan. Two presumptive cases are in their 40s and live in the same household in Regina. One recently travelled to Vancouver for a dental conference at which an attendee was later confirmed to have COVID-19. The two Saskatchewan residents were tested March 13 and are self-isolating while they recover. The fourth new case is an individual in their 20s with a history of travel to Tennessee, U.S., who was tested in Regina and is now self-isolating and recovering in their home community. Public Health officials are following up with individuals who had close contact with all of these cases and who may be at risk of developing COVID-19. You will be notified if you are a close contact and need to take further measures. New Travel Guidance for Residents Travelling Internationally and Returning to Saskatchewan: The Federal Government and Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer recommend returning to Canada and avoiding non-essential international travel until further notice. All travellers returning from international destinations - including the United States – need to self-isolate and monitor their health for 14 days upon return. Travellers returning from within Canada are advised to self-monitor for 14 days upon return. Members of the public who have travelled outside the province in the previous 14 days should not visit hospitals or long-term care facilities. COVID-19 INFORMATION We understand that residents have questions about COVID-19 in Saskatchewan. If you have recently travelled internationally and are experiencing respiratory or flu-like symptoms, please call HealthLine 811.
Mar 13, 2020 PROVINCE ENHANCES COVID-19 PREVENTION MEASURES Today, Premier Scott Moe, Health Minister Jim Reiter and Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab announced new measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan. The Chief Medical Health Officer of Saskatchewan has made the following order pursuant to Section 45 of The Public Health Act effective Monday, March 16: • The Chief Medical Health Officer orders that no public gathering of over 250 people in any one room take place. This does not include settings where people are distributed into multiple rooms or buildings, such as schools, universities or workplaces. • The Chief Medical Health Officer orders that no events of over 50 people with speakers or attendees who have travelled internationally in the last 14 days take place. • Retail locations and Faith based organizations are exempt, however, they should have measures (such as crowd size monitoring) that support safe social distancing and should seek guidance from the local medical health officer if necessary. • Effective immediately, people who have travelled outside the province in the previous 14 days or have acute repository or flu-like symptoms should avoid visiting long term care homes and hospitals. Additionally, the Government of Saskatchewan as an employer is imposing a number of policies regarding government employee travel, as well as self-monitoring and self-isolation procedures: • Effective immediately, international travel (including the U.S.) for government employees on government business has been prohibited. • Any out-of-province travel for government employees on government business within Canada will be restricted and is subject to approval by the Deputy Minister to the Premier. • Any government employees who are currently travelling internationally (including to the U.S.), or plan to travel internationally for personal reasons will be required to self-isolate for 14 days after returning to Canada as a precaution. If they have or develop acute respiratory or flu-like symptoms, they should contact Healtline 811. • All government employees who are experiencing symptoms of an acute respiratory or flu-like illness will be required to stay at home. While these measures are being implemented as a policy for Government of Saskatchewan ministries, crowns, and agencies, the Chief Medical Health Officer strongly recommends that all employers and individuals across the province adopt these measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan, protect residents from exposure to the virus and reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the health system. In keeping with these new policies, budget day events on Wednesday, March 18, will proceed without the participation of invited guests. Members of the Legislative Assembly, media, and a limited number of staff will gather for these events while practicing social distancing. Further, all tours and public events at the Legislative Building are suspended and general public access to the Legislative Building will also be suspended. Concerns regarding Healthline 811 have been heard, and following an action plan ordered by the Minister of Health, the capacity of Healthline 811 has been more than doubled effective 9 a.m. this morning, with additional capacity being added going forward. The Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority continue to work together to expand testing capacity for COVID-19, including the introduction of COVID-19 assessment sites over the coming days. “While these are significant steps that will help limit transmission of COVID-19, most important is the responsibility we all have to ensure we reduce the risk to ourselves, our families and our communities,” Moe said. “The best way we can do this is by practicing social distancing, washing our hands often, avoiding close personal contact like handshakes or hugs, and self isolating if we feel any symptoms of illness.”
TWM Business Hours: Mon-Thu: 9 AM to 5PM Fri: 9 AM to 1PM Sat/Sun: Closed Email TWM click here Ph: 306-946-3343