Province not ready to implement mandatory mask policy in Sask. yet
REGINA -- The Government of Saskatchewan is not currently considering implementing a mandatory mask policy for the province, after seeing the biggest single-day rise in COVID-19 cases on Thursday.
“Mask usage is just one of the tools that right now are available in the tool box,” said Warren Kaeding, the Minister of Rural and Remote Health.
“Our Chief Medical Health Officer has been fairly explicit as to where he sees a mask would be the best benefit.”
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The province will continue to adhere to the advice of Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province’s Chief Medial Health Officer, when it comes to mask use.
“As we continue to see the evolving nature of this virus, and the understanding of the virus, if it comes to that point where the Chief Medical Health Officer believes that it needs to be taken to another level, then I would expect we would move to that,” said Kaeding.
Scott Livingstone, the CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, said for now, the government will continue to educate the province about the benefits of using non-medical masks in certain situations.
“Having a little more of a voluntary policy but keeping people aware of what’s out there and how to protect themselves, I think is more important,” said Livingstone.
The SHA will continue to rely on Saskatchewan people to willingly follow public health restrictions and guidelines. A mandatory mask policy would likely only be considered if transmission of the virus was linked to a lack of mask use.
“I think we would consider what would happen with a mandatory masking policy if we started to see things that we could definitely identify were strictly related to that type of transmission,” Livingstone said.
The Government of Saskatchewan recommends masks be worn in situations where physical distancing is not possible. COVID-19 testing is now available to anyone who wants it, through referral by calling 811.