Reversal: Sask. Health Authority now says health care workers who've traveled must self-isolate

The Saskatchewan Health Authority says all health care workers and volunteers in the province who returned from international travel on or after March 6 must immediately self-isolate for 14 days. 

This is a reversal of a policy the SHA was defending just days ago. 

On Sunday, health care workers were told that if they came back to Saskatchewan from international travel prior to March 16, there were cleared to return to work immediately, despite the fact that virtually everyone else was required to self isolate. 

In a written directive issued Sunday, the SHA said workers returning from international travel who had no symptoms, had not been in contact with an infected person and had not been in Italy, Iran or Hubei-China "are able to work your regularly scheduled shifts."

Last night, a memo was sent to all health care workers reversing that decision. 

"Employees, physicians, students and volunteers who have returned from international travel on March 6, 2020 or later must immediately self-isolate." 

Saskatchewan Health Authority

Confusion about policy change

The initial policy change was sent by email at 10:30 p.m. last night. 

Then, at 1:51 a.m. a "correction" memo was sent which said "employees, physicians, students and volunteers who have returned from international travel on March 16, 2020 or later must immediately self isolate."

That appeared to reinstate the original policy. 

Then, another memo was sent at 9 a.m. Saturday morning which confirmed that the policy had changed and health workers who returned from International travel on or after March 6 were required to self isolate.

In that email, the Vice President of Community Engagement and Communications for the SHA, Kim McKechney, said the confusion was unintentional. 

"Overnight, the date in the original message and memo was altered in error. That message has been recalled. I apologize for the confusion this created," said McKechney.

In a follow-up email to CBC on Saturday afternoon, McKechney explained what went wrong.

"Unfortunately, a manager called one of our on-call communications staff in the middle of the night to say the date was wrong. Because this is a fluid situation, they actually thought it was wrong, so they changed the date to March 16." 

"Staff are trying to communicate out as best they can and errors happen," he said.