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Renseignements en Français

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How To Protect Yourself


1. Risk Assessment / Protect Yourself

The best protection against COVID-19 is to be vaccinated. Additional, everyday preventive actions can continue to reduce transmission of this respiratory illness.

  • Wear your best mask properly;
  • Practise proper cough and sneezing etiquette (into a tissue or the bend of your elbow);
  • Frequent handwashing;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces regularly. While COVID-19 is primarily airborne, keeping high-touch surfaces clean can help reduce all infectious disease transmission; and
  • Stay home with even mild symptoms (even if you test negative) and get tested.

If you are providing care to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 at home, keep distant from an affected individual as much as possible. Hand hygiene should be performed frequently and wear a medical grade mask when in the same room with the affected individual until they are finished from self-isolation.

Self-monitor for symptoms. Stay home if you are sick (even if you test negative) and use a COVID-19 rapid antigen test. Information on COVID-19 testing is available.

Our Know Your Risk checklist can help you with that personal assessment.


2. Why wearing a mask continues to be important

Wearing a mask is an added layer of protection. You may consider wearing one in crowded, shared, indoor spaces, especially if your health is vulnerable or you are around those with vulnerable health (for example, a long-term care home). 

We know that protection decreases over time. You are considered up-to-date on your vaccinations if you have completed a primary series and received a booster dose this fall.

It takes up to 14 days to build immunity following the primary vaccination series. Vaccinated individuals can still be infected and transmit the COVID-19 virus. However, this is less likely to occur among individuals who are up-to-date on their vaccinations. 

Although COVID-19 vaccines provide substantial protection against severe illness, no vaccine will prevent all transmission.

People should assess their own risk and make their own choices in terms of wearing a mask. The same is true of venues, businesses and employers – they may request that patrons/staff wear masks.  It is essential to be kind and to respect individuals’ choices. 

Mask Type

  • Regardless of the type of mask you are wearing, if air is escaping from the sides or top, it isn't working as well as it could be. You should adjust the fit.
  • Medical masks are a good choice if you are at higher risk of being exposed to COVID-19 or at risk of more severe disease or outcomes.
  • Disposable masks often block more respiratory droplets than cloth masks.
  • Cloth masks with at least three layers of a tightly woven fabric, like cotton, work best. A middle layer with a filter-type fabric will block more respiratory droplets.
  • Bandanas and gaiter masks are not appropriate face coverings. They are ineffective at blocking respiratory droplets.
  • Scarves, ski masks, balaclavas, sweaters, turtlenecks and other loose fabrics are also ineffective face coverings.
  • Face shields are not a substitute for masks and should not be used in place of masks. Face shields can be used to provide eye protection as an alternative to other forms of approved eye protection, such as goggles or safety glasses.
Medical masks are recommended for:
  • anyone who has tested positive for or has symptoms of COVID-19
  • people caring for someone who has tested positive or has symptoms of COVID-19
  • people who live in an overcrowded setting with someone who has tested positive or has symptoms of COVID-19
  • people who are at risk of more severe disease or outcomes from COVID-19
  • people who are at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 because of their living situation

Mask Fit

Masks should cover the nose, mouth, and chin areas with few gaps. A mask that fits well will block more infectious particles. Even if the mask is high quality, if it is not tight to your face, it isn't working as well as it could be.

How well a mask works also depends on fit. When choosing a mask, keep in mind:

  • masks with a flexible nosepiece may provide a better fit over the nose
  • the fit of the mask can vary depending on the size and features of your face
  • masks with ties or bands that go around the back of the head may provide a better fit
    • if choosing an ear loop-style mask, use one with adjustable ear loops
  • respirators are designed to fit snugly on the face, which may allow for a better fit than a medical or non-medical mask
    • a respirator worn in the community doesn't need to have been formally fit tested as is required in some occupational settings

A well-fitting mask should:

  • be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose, mouth and chin without gaps and not allow air to escape from edges
  • fit securely to the head with ties, bands or ear loops
  • be comfortable and not require frequent adjustments
  • maintain its shape after washing and drying (for cloth masks only)

Ways to improve fit include:

  • adjusting ties or ear loops
  • adjusting the flexible nosepiece
  • tying knots in the ear loops and tucking the sides of the mask so that it lies flat
  • using a mask fitter or brace
    • a mask fitter or brace is a device made of flexible material worn over a mask to help provide a snug fit
    • fitters and braces may be made of plastic or silicone
  • keeping facial hair and beards shaved or short, if possible, so the mask can fit more closely to your face

Information on how to properly put on or remove a non-medical mask can be found on the Public Health Agency of Canada's website.


3. What is Physical Distancing

Physical distancing has proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It is typically ensuring two metres between you and others from outside your household/contacts.


4. Family Visitation in Long-Term, Personal Care Homes and Acute Care Settings

Effective February 14, 2022, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) will be removing the Proof of Vaccination or negative test mandate for visitors and essential family support in all of our facilities, long-term care homes and affiliates. 

This means that the public will no longer need to supply a valid proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID-19 test to enter an SHA facility, long-term care home or affiliate.

Residents are encouraged to make their own personal risk assessment when accessing SHA facilities.

Family presence and visitation policies in acute and long-term care settings may be updated, depending on COVID-19 transmission in a community, region or the province.

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