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How To Protect Yourself


1. What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Some cause illness in people, while others circulate among animals. Some coronaviruses transmit easily from person to person while others do not. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a new virus and the cause of COVID-19, which causes mild to moderately severe symptoms and deaths.

COVID-19 can be transmitted by people who have symptoms and by people who are infectious but not symptomatic in the two days before symptoms develop, spreading from an infected person to others through respiratory droplets and aerosols when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, shouts or talks.

Most people with COVID-19 illness will recover on their own. Severe or worsening symptoms may require supportive treatment in hospital.


2. How to Protect Yourself

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

  • Practise proper cough and sneezing etiquette (into a tissue or the bend of your elbow)
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water; if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces regularly
  • Wear a non-medical mask
  • Stay home with even mild symptoms 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 released from self-isolation by public health.


3. Masking

Effective Friday, September 17, 2021, a public health order is in effect requiring the use of non-medical masks in all indoor public spaces in Saskatchewan, including schools.

"Indoor public spaces" are any enclosed space other than a private home or dwelling. This may include but is not exclusive to workplaces, retail locations, recreational venues, eating and dining establishments and professional buildings. Indoor public spaces include those areas of a business or venue that are restricted to staff only (areas where there is no access for the public).

Exempt from the masking order will be indoor youth athletics for those under the age of 18 while they are actively engaged in athletic activity. Masking in venues hosting youth athletics will remain required for general entry and exit into the facility, along with for spectators.

Masking in School Settings

As of September 17, 2021, mask use in all indoor public locations in Saskatchewan including in schools is mandatory until further notice.

Exemptions include:

  • For individuals performing in a band or orchestra but only for the duration of the practice or performance.
  • For individuals who are under the age of 18 years while participating in sports, for the duration of the sport only.

All spectators, staff, volunteers, and those who are coaching are not exempt from the mask policy. Students who are walking to the stage, courts, ice, pitch, etc. must wear masks; however, when they begin play, the masks may be removed.

Wear your "best mask" properly.

Why wearing a mask continues to be important

It’s important to continue practising all public health measures recommended by local public health authorities, including individual measures such as wearing a mask. This is because:

  • Although COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada provide substantial protection against severe illness, no vaccine will prevent all transmission
  • We now know that protection may decrease over time and that fully vaccinated individuals can still be infected and transmit the COVID-19 virus
  • However, this is less likely to occur among fully vaccinated individuals than for those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated
  • As it gets colder and when more of our activities move indoors, we may come into closer contact with others outside of our household

Even if masks aren't required in the setting you’re in under the public health order, wearing a mask is an added layer of protection. Whether you’re vaccinated or not, you should consider wearing one in shared spaces with people from outside of your immediate household. This is especially important indoors, whether in private or public settings and if you do not know the vaccination status of those you are with.

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.
  • 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 non-medical 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 make a non-medical mask, how to make your mask fit properly and how to properly put on or remove a non-medical mask can be found on the Public Health Agency of Canada's website.

The Swiss Cheese Respiratory Virus Pandemic Defence


4. What is Physical Distancing

Physical distancing is 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.

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