Released on March 5, 2020The Best Protection is Personal Protection
With an increasing number of confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) around the world, the planning and preparedness of governments, organizations and individuals can still assist in containing and mitigating the spread of the illness.
The risk of COVID-19 to Saskatchewan residents remains low. As of March 5, there are no laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province.
“With COVID-19 transmission occurring in many countries, Saskatchewan will be expanding testing criteria and increasing surveillance,” Saskatchewan Health’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said. “Testing is important to ensure the healthcare system has the best possible information to ensure our facilities and staff are prepared for any cases that present in the province. The most recent science indicates that 80 per cent of individuals who contract COVID-19 will experience only mild symptoms and will recover in their homes. Protecting yourself from transmission and planning to stay home if you become sick will allow the healthcare system to focus on the most severe cases.”
Protect Yourself from Respiratory Illness:
• Wash your hands frequently;
• Do not touch surfaces and then your mouth, eyes or nose;
• Use tissues when you cough or sneeze and dispose of them immediately; use your elbow if a tissue not available;
• Stay home if you become ill and prevent the spread of the illness
Health System Preparedness
The Ministry of Health has a pandemic preparedness plan developed to address influenza. Since COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, this plan will be adapted to respond to COVID-19.
This planning includes:
• Updated guidance to care providers on the case definition and testing procedures;
• Enhanced testing capability with Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory (RRPL);
• Reviewing acute care capacity and contingency planning; and
• Ensuring necessary supplies of personal protective equipment.
It is best practice for workplaces to have business continuity plans to support staff and work functions through an event like pandemic influenza. It is recommended that workplaces ensure these plans are current and ready, in the event that cases increase in the province.
The active travel health notices and travel advice are available at Health Canada - Latest Travel Health Advice page. Travelers from Hubei and Iran are being asked to contact public health officials upon return to Canada and self-isolate for 14 days after leaving those jurisdictions. All travelers returning from countries where COVID-19 is circulating should actively monitor for symptoms of cough and fever. If you develop symptoms, stay home and call HealthLine 811 for assessment and advice.
Visit www.saskatchewan.ca/coronavirus for updated information on COVID-19, including the questions and answers for the public and care providers and testing surveillance.
For more information, contact: