Changes to Masking Guidance: Use of N95 Respirators

NEW January 14: The SHA has provided a return of work guidebook for healthcare workers. You can access it by clicking here.

 The Saskatchewan Health Authority has revised its guidance on the use of N95 respirators as outlined below. As always, SUN members should conduct their own Point-Of-Care Risk Assessment.
  • A fit-tested, seal-checked N95 respirator (or approved equivalent-or-greater protection) is recommended when entering a patient room/space or within two meters of a patient suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 (i.e. Droplet/Contact Plus precautions). Other appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) includes eye protection, gown and gloves. This applies to all SHA and affiliate staff.
  • Suspect cases are defined as any patient/resident/client that screens positive or for whom the screening status is unknown.
  • Family and visitors of patients, residents and clients who are suspected or confirmed COVID-19 positive, will be offered a non-FIT tested N95 mask for additional protection. This is optional and they will be allowed entry if they choose a regular medical mask
Personal protective equipment charts have been revised to align with these N95 respirator recommendations:

Changes to Screening, Isolation, and Return-to-Work Policies

The Saskatchewan Health Authority has revised its screening and return to work policies. Note that according to this policy, employees who are a close contact of a positive case, including from within their own household, will no longer be excluded from work if they are fully vaccinated.
Healthcare Worker COVID-19 screening changes:
  1. All HCWs should receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster as soon as possible in accordance with the booster guidelines.
  2. All asymptomatic HCWs should perform a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) at least once a week.
  3. HCWs who have a positive RAT should immediately have a PCR (lab test) done.
  4. Asymptomatic HCWs with a positive RAT but a negative PCR can continue to work as long as they self-monitor. They must continue to isolate for five days outside of work as per the Public Health Order (PHO).
  5. RATs are NOT to be used when symptomatic. HCWs with a positive RAT that later develop symptoms and receive a negative PCR can return to work when symptoms have significantly resolved for 48 hours.
Healthcare worker changes to exclusion from work for positive cases:
  1. All HCWs must follow the isolation requirements as directed by Public Health. Additional guidance may be provided based on an assessment of the case and scenario.
  2. Vaccinated HCWs who are COVID-19 positive must follow the current Public Health Order (PHO) and must isolate for five days. They are then excluded from the workplace for a total of seven days (five days from the PHO plus an additional two days) from the onset of symptoms OR positive test. They may return to work on day eight if symptoms have significantly resolved and they have a negative RAT on day seven. If symptoms have not significantly resolved or the rapid antigen test on day seven is positive, they must continue to be excluded from work for a total of 10 days.
  3. Unvaccinated HCWs who are COVID-19 positive are excluded from work for 10 days from the onset of symptoms OR positive RAT or PCR test. Isolation for unvaccinated and COVID-19 positive HCWs follows the current Public Health Order (PHO) and lasts 10 days.
Exclusion from work for close contacts:
  1. Fully vaccinated HCWs who are exposed to a COVID-19 positive case will not be excluded from work. They should monitor for symptoms, seek a PCR test if symptoms develop, and perform a RAT at least every three days.
  2. Fully vaccinated HCWs who are exposed to COVID-19 from someone within their immediate household will not be excluded from work. They should monitor for symptoms, seek a PCR test if symptoms develop, and increase the frequency of RAT to at least every two days until 14 days after the household member tested positive.
  3. Unvaccinated HCWs who are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case are excluded from work for 10 days. The date of exclusion from work starts the same date as the positive case’s start of isolation. Unvaccinated HCWs must seek immediate testing, continue in the Monitored Testing Program AND must follow any additional isolation requirements outside of work as per the PHO.
Please consult the following documents to assess the appropriate screening and return-to-work processes for your situation:
Return-to-work algorithm: What you need to know if you have tested positive for COVID-19:

Do you have questions for SUN's EROs/NPOs?

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