The Government of Saskatchewan announced a plan to further ease visitor restrictions in long-term care and personal care homes in alignment with the three steps of the Re-opening Roadmap. Residents in care homes will soon be able to safely see more family members and visitors, thanks to Saskatchewan’s nation-leading COVID-19 vaccination program.
Beginning on Sunday, May 30, when Saskatchewan moves to Step 1 of its Re-opening Roadmap, all residents of long-term care and personal care homes will be able to welcome an unlimited number of visitors, two at a time, indoors. Up to four family members or support persons at a time will be able to visit outdoors. When Saskatchewan reaches Step 1, three weeks will have passed since reaching the threshold of more than 70 per cent of citizens aged 40 and older having had their first dose of vaccine.
Care home visitation will continue to be limited to compassionate reasons only until May 30, except for fully vaccinated residents of homes where 90 per cent of residents have been fully vaccinated and three weeks have elapsed since the last second dose vaccinations.
“Very difficult decisions were made to protect the health and safety of long-term care home residents and staff, and I know that visitor restrictions have been extremely challenging,” Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley said.
“People miss being able to spend time with their loved ones, and nowhere is that more evident than in our care homes. Thankfully, due to the incredible vaccine uptake by the majority of the eligible population, we are in a position to make it easier for people to be able to visit their friends and family members residing in all of our care homes. But our work isn’t done. The road out of this pandemic runs through our vaccination clinics, so I strongly encourage all Saskatchewan residents to also get their second vaccine dose as soon as you are able so that we can continue down our path to having life return back to normal.”
Visitor restrictions will be relaxed further in the coming weeks in alignment with the steps of the re-opening roadmap:
- Step 2 (tentatively the third week of June) – All long-term care and personal care homes may allow four visitors at a time indoors and nine visitors at a time outdoors.
- Step 3 (tentatively the second week of July) – The Chief Medical Health Officer is still developing further revisions to the family presence policy.
"This announcement reinforces the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s commitment to families as essential supports for the physical and mental needs of those living in long-term care," SHA CEO Scott Livingstone said. "This has been a difficult time for many families and we want to thank them for their cooperation and look forward to continuing to work together to keep their loved ones safe."
Family and support persons visiting care homes must continue to follow public health guidelines on masking, physical distancing, hand hygiene, temperature screening, and may be offered an optional rapid antigen test.
As of May 30, all care home residents who go on outings will no longer be required to quarantine upon their return. Residents must continue to abide by all public health measures in place, including current restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings, while away from the home.
There are 252 personal care homes, 151 long-term care homes and eight other health-care facilities that accommodate long-term care beds in Saskatchewan.