Learn more about COVID-19 in Saskatchewan:

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Residential Homes

Information for Residential Homes - Personal Care Homes (PCHs), Group Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

Many of these facilities already have policies and practices in place to promote safe resident/participant care during this pandemic. For those who are seeking additional support, this information is provided by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) in conjunction with the Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Social Services (MSS) and the Saskatchewan Association for Safe Workplaces in Health (SASWH) to support effective communication and information sharing.

Please feel free to reach out to any of the contacts identified below if you need additional support.


1. Visitor Restrictions

Visitor (family presence) restrictions will begin to ease in some personal care homes and long-term care homes starting April 29, 2021. 

This will only be allowed if 90% of residents have been fully vaccinated and three weeks has passed since the last second dose vaccination. 

View the "Level 90" list of home meeting the vaccination threshold on the SHA Service Alerts.

Residents will be able to have up to two family members or support people at a time visit indoors. Four visitors at a time will be allowed outdoors. If a fully vaccinated resident leaves the facility (eg. for a medical appointment), they will no longer be required to quarantine following their return. However, they must follow all public health measures while outside the facility. 

This gradual, cautious approach will help keep residents safe, and allow limited and much-needed social contact and support for care needs. Personal care homes are responsible for aligning themselves with the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s operational policies, and must be able to verify that they meet the requirements. 

Homes will notify residents and families of any change in visitor restrictions, once they confirm that their  resident vaccination rate is about 90 per cent, and it has been three weeks since the last second dose was administered. The 90 per cent vaccination rate must be maintained, even with fluctuations such as resident turnover.

Saskatchewan Health Authority Medical Health Officers will have discretion to maintain restrictions even if the thresholds are met.

2. Outbreak Management

The Toolkit for the Management and Control of Communicable Diseases in Residential Care Facilities in Saskatchewan is intended to provide information on how best to prevent outbreaks, identify illness early, and outline steps to prepare for and manage outbreaks in an effective manner. This consolidated Toolkit will assist you in planning and preparing for any potential communicable disease outbreaks. This material is applicable to the current COVID-19 pandemic situation but also other conditions such as influenza that typically appears on a regular basis.

An Excel version of the supply estimation calculator (Appendix D) is being provided as a separate document. You can use this tool to input the number of staff and residents in your facility, in order to determine what kind of outbreak supplies you should have on hand.


3. Prevention

What is the best way to prepare our home, residents and staff during this COVID-19 pandemic current state?

Acknowledge what you and your team are doing well.

Continue to familiarize yourself on the steps for prevention, early detection, isolation and notification.

  • COVID-19 pandemic planning information that is specific to your needs has been collated and is available on this page.

Note: Public Health Inspectors are conducting inspections in Personal Care Homes (not group homes or assisted living) for Order compliance. This is separate from the self-assessment recommended above.

  • Implement enhanced cleaning. High touch surfaces (light switches, door knobs, bathroom fixtures, remote controls, etc.) should be cleaned and disinfected at least twice daily.
  • Promote 2 metre physical distancing at all times. Determine if there are things that you can do in your environment that will support physical separation of residents either routinely and especially in the event of illness.
  • Promote personal hygiene among staff and residents - hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, avoid sharing of personal items such as eating utensils, washcloths and towels, etc. Alcohol base hand sanitizer should be easily accessible where sinks are not readily available (e.g. dining room entrance).
  • Monitor your staff and residents closely, and have your plan visible to ensure all workers will know how to respond if a suspected or positive case is identified.
  • Staff Screening
    • Personal Care Homes – follow the requirements of the Public Health Order including continuous masking, staff screening and temperature checks, staff cohorting and visitor restrictions. A staff screening questionnaire is available: COVID-19 Staff Screening Tool.
    • Group Homes, Assisted Living Facilities and Approved Homes - as a precaution you may wish to conduct daily COVID-19 health screening for all staff and, if possible, for residents and visitors (as applicable). For more information see COVID-19 Information for Health Care Providers.
  • If staff currently perform Aerosol Generating Medical Procedures (AGMPs) on residents/participants or clients, staff must be fit tested in advance for N95 disposable respirators. A list of AGMPs is available.
    • Once you have respirators in stock, fit testing is offered at no charge by the Saskatchewan Association for Safe Workplaces in Health by contacting info@saswh.ca. It is important to note that N95 masks are only required when an AGMP is being performed.
  • Mental Health Supports. It is critical to observe our own and others' mental health. Please refer to Mental Health and COVID-19 for further resources.
    • Engage in healthy activities that the household enjoys and finds relaxing. Keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy food. Keep things in perspective.
    • Share simple facts about what is going on and give clear information about how to reduce risk of infection in words your residents can understand. Be thoughtful about how you talk about COVID-19, and try not to worsen any existing stress.
    • Help your residents to stay connected with their support networks through the use of technology, phone calls and other means.
  • Compliance activities. Understand when and how to use what kind of PPE. Conduct simulations to ensure your staff are practicing safe hand hygiene and are well rehearsed in donning/doffing of PPE. For more information see PPE/Infection Prevention and Control.
  • Have a resident move-in/onboarding plan in place. See guidelines for continuing care facilities that you may wish to adopt for your home (as applicable). Refer to the 'Work Standard/Guidelines' section under Continuing Care.

We are concerned about access to sufficient supply of required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

  • PPE for everyday use includes procedure masks and gloves. Items such as face shields, goggles, gowns, etc are only required when caring for a symptomatic or COVID-19 positive individual.
  • N95 respirators are not required for the majority of interactions with a COVID positive person. N95 respirators are appropriate barriers required only when performing an aerosol-generating medical procedure (AGMP) on a COVID positive person. A list of AGMPs is available at PPE/Infection Prevention and Control.
  • You are encouraged to maintain existing supply chains/suppliers if possible. Although PPE has been in short supply, this situation is improving and your suppliers may now be able to fill your orders.
  • A list of alternative, local PPE manufacturers and suppliers, including a list of Saskatchewan distillers approved by Health Canada to produce hand sanitizer, have been posted on the Government website at Accessing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). New companies are continuously being added to this list, so please check back frequently. The suppliers listed have been confirmed as viable vendors (although this is not to suggest that the vendors have supply currently available).
  • If you require support with PPE training for donning/doffing or if you require fit testing of N95 masks, please contact info@saswh.ca.
  • Everyday PPE - procedure masks and gloves:
    • Personal Care Homes - because of your requirement to comply with the Public Health Order to continuously mask, the Ministry of Health has arranged for a supply of procedure masks to be distributed to you. These shipments began in April and will continue for the interim period. Gloves are to be sourced through regular supply chain options above.
    • Group Homes - Although not required to continuously mask under the Public Health Order, group homes that support people who meet at least one of the following criteria: over the age of 60; immunocompromised; and/or have respiratory issues are being advised to have their staff wear masks. Continuous efforts are being made to obtain further supplies of procedure masks. Gloves are to be sourced through regular supply chain options above.
    • Assisted Living Facilities - source procedure masks and gloves, as required, though your regular suppliers, or consider the alternative supply chain options outlined above.
    • Approved Homes - source procedure masks and gloves, as required, though your regular suppliers, or consider the alternative supply chain options outlined above.

I require information in a variety of languages.

  • There are translated options of information available from other jurisdictions. If you require assistance finding suitable options, please contact your ministry contact person.

4. COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Information on Covid-19 vaccine can be accessed at COVID-19 Vaccine Information.


5. Suspected COVID-19 Case

What do we do if we have a resident or staff member who is displaying signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19?

  • If a staff member shows signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19, they should be sent home from work immediately. They should begin to self-isolate and contact HealthLine 811 immediately for directions regarding testing.
  • If a resident is displaying signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19, don't wait. Isolate immediately! Ensure the resident is kept on isolation until advised by public health that it is safe.
  • Place a sign on the room alerting staff that they need to wear full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when in the room. Refer to the next section for additional PPE information.
  • Notify the resident's primary care provider to determine if further assessment and treatment is indicated.
  • For group homes, please contact your Manager, Community Services at the Ministry of Social Services to discuss your isolation plan, next steps and any additional resources which may needed to support the resident.
  • Make arrangements for testing as directed by HealthLine 811. Continue to isolate.
  • Do enhanced cleaning and disinfection.
  • Meals for the resident should be provided in their room during isolation.
  • Notify the resident's supporter/family/substitute decision maker/next of kin regarding the illness and inform them that testing is being done (subject to your facility's privacy policies).
  • Notify the facility's medical director as applicable.
  • Practice safe transportation. Information on transportation to testing and assessment centres can be found at General Information for All Health Care Providers.

If we have a suspected or positive case and can isolate in place, what PPE is required?

  • The Saskatchewan Health Authority PPE guidelines for caring for a COVID-19 positive patient (resident) requires the following: gowns, gloves, a procedure masks and eye protection (face shield or goggles), gown and gloves. More information can be found at PPE/Infection Prevention and Control.
  • Continue to source these supplies through regular supply chain options.
  • N95 respirators are not required for the majority of interactions with a COVID positive person. N95 respirators are appropriate barriers required only when performing an aerosol-generating medical procedure (AGMP) on a COVID-19 positive person. A list of AGMPs is available at PPE/Infection Prevention and Control.
  • If you are doing an AGMP on a COVID-19 positive resident, you will require N95 disposable respirators which require fit testing. Fit testing can be done by the Saskatchewan Association for Safe Workplaces in Health (SASWH). SASWH does not charge a fee for fit testing. You can contact them at info@saswh.ca. It is important to note that N95 masks are only required when an AGMP is performed.

What do we do if we cannot isolate given our current residential living situation and we have a resident suspected of having COVID-19 (symptomatic and currently being tested) or if a resident tests positive?

  • If you cannot fully isolate due to facility restrictions, maintain in-room isolation for the confirmed positive COVID-19 resident and roommates (if applicable) for the 10 days, or 48 hours after symptoms resolved, whichever is longer and on the direction of Public Health.
  • Ensure at least 2 metres of separation is maintained between bed spaces with privacy curtains drawn, if available, and if not available consider hanging a sheet from the ceiling to create a physical barrier.
  • Designate a separate bathroom if possible; if not available, the bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
  • Plan for alternatives, and have conversations to prepare for scenarios to address facility or behavior challenges that may arise.
  • If you have a ministry contact or other supports, please reach out to them to discuss your plans and supports for your home and residents.
  • For PPE questions, see above.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada has drafted Instructions for Isolating a Case in the Home or Co-Living Setting.

6. Confirmed COVID-19 Positive Case

What do we do if our home has a confirmed COVID-19 Case?

  • Public health follows up on all positive cases and does a risk assessment to identify contacts; this includes identifying household contacts and care providers.
  • Once a positive case has been confirmed, facility management should:
    • Advise your staff;
    • Advise the family of the positive resident;
    • Communicate with the families of residents that there is a positive case/outbreak and risk; and
    • Notify non-facility staff, professionals and service providers of the outbreak and assess their need to visit the facility.
  • For Personal Care Homes and Group Homes, Saskatchewan Health Authority COVID-19 Response Guidance for Long Term Care Facilities is available at:

Is the process different if we are in a rural/remote area?

  • No. Please follow the processes outlined above and in the links/resources provided.

What if a suspected case is found out to be negative?

  • The resident or staff should remain in isolation for 48 hours after the symptoms subside.

7. Additional Resources

Personal Care Home COVID-19 Outbreak Preparedness - Townhall Presentation (November 19, 2020)

Communicable Disease Control Manual – includes chapters on COVID-19 and outbreaks in LTC facilities.

Areas of Concern – Communities and health facilities may be added or removed from this list at the discretion of the local Medical Health Officer based on current epidemiology and risk assessment. See list of communities and health facilities of concern for COVID-19.

Coronavirus Social Story – Getting Tested (Adapted from: Aptus Treatment Center for Complex Disabilities)

COVID-19 Guidelines for Group Homes (Ministry of Social Services)

Supplementary Materials (Adapted from: Green Mountain Self-Advocates)

Considerations for Re-Openings Plans for Service Providers (Ministry of Social Services)

Visitation Guidelines for Community Living Service Delivery (CLSD) Group Homes (Ministry of Social Services)

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