With fewer outbreaks, some Saskatoon care homes loosening visitor restrictions

·2 min read
Care homes in Saskatoon run by the Saskatchewan Health Authority are opening restrictions in some of the 16 homes in the city. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
Care homes in Saskatoon run by the Saskatchewan Health Authority are opening restrictions in some of the 16 homes in the city. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

Fewer outbreaks in long-term care facilities and fewer cases in Saskatoon have opened the doors to more visitors to some care homes.

This past Monday, all Saskatchewan Health Authority-run long-term care homes and affiliates in Saskatoon were under level one pandemic restrictions, which limited the number of visitors to two family or support persons — and only one at a time.

Beginning on Monday at 8 a.m. some care homes will drop those limits and open up to all essential family, support persons or visitors. It also cuts the restriction on how many people can be present at one time, as long as they are all masked and vaccinated, or have proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

A spokesperson for the Saskatchewan Health Authority did not list which homes would be included in the shift but said families would get the information directly or can contact the specific home.

For those in long-term care, there are no limits on the number of people able to visit a resident, or how many can be in the room. Patients in acute care still require no more than two people at a time indoors, and there are no restrictions outdoors.

In-person visits can still be limited to scheduling made by the home and larger groups will need to schedule the use of common areas in advance.

"This change is being made because outbreaks in Saskatoon Long Term Care homes have decreased, COVID-19 transmission rates in Saskatoon have decreased and the proof of vaccination requirements for staff and families [and] supports in Long Term Care are in effect," the Saskatchewan Health Authority said in a news release.

"Those [long term care] homes not in compliance will remain at Level 1."

As of Friday, there were three COVID-19 outbreaks in congregate living settings in Saskatchewan, none of which were in Saskatoon.

According to the National Institute on Ageing at Ryerson University in Toronto, which has been tracking the virus in care homes across the country, there have been 694 cases and 123 deaths in about 164 long-term care homes in the province since the beginning of the pandemic.

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