Coronavirus – COVID 19 Information

September 20, 2021

The Government of Saskatchewan is announcing new measures to address health care capacity pressures caused by rising case rates, primarily driven by the unvaccinated population. Effective Friday, September 17, an interim province-wide mandatory masking order will be implemented for all indoor public spaces. Please see below to visit the recent changes

September 15, 2021

The Ministry of Health has updated their protocols for Mandatory Isolation. Please see below to visit the recent changes

July 8, 2021

The Ministry of Health has provided additional information and frequently asked questions (FAQs) that may assist you regarding the lifting of the provincial public health orders to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic ending on July 11, 2021. Please click on the below links to review:

June 23, 2021

Please click on the below link for the latest memo from our NIRO Representative, Arlene Miller:

May 11, 2021

Please click on the link below for the latest memo from our NIRO representative, Arlene Miller:

May 5, 2021

Please click on the link below for the latest update on the Re-Opening Plan for Saskatchewan:

April 12, 2021

Please click on the link below for the latest update on Saskatchewan’s Vaccine Delivery Plan:

March 25, 2021

Please click on the link below for the latest report from our NIRO Representative, Arlene Miller:

March 1, 2021

Please click on the link below for the latest report from our NIRO representative, Arlene Miller.

February 2, 2021

Please read the following memo from our NIRO representative, Arlene Miller for the latest SHA Guidelines.

As we continue to wage on during this pandemic, with what seems like no end in sight, I want to commend all our members for remaining diligent in maintaining a safe environment for the public we serve and for ourselves. As we have had some communications come through the College regarding vaccinations and when they may be available to members of our profession, I would like to take this moment to explain the plan set forth by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The MOH has set a Vaccine Delivery Plan in motion, consisting of three phases, the Pilot Phase, Phase 1, and Phase 2. The Pilot Phase involved the shipping, delivery, and storage of 1,950 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. All doses were administered to health care workers at Regina General and Pasqua Hospitals, which included health care workers in ICUs, Emergency Departments, and COVID Units. These Pilot recipients will then receive their second dose 21 days after the administration of the first doses in Phase 1.

Phase 1 focuses on immunizing priority populations who are at a higher risk of exposure to the virus or more at risk of serious illness, such as health care workers, elderly residents in care homes and the staff, seniors over 80, and residents in remote northern communities which seem to have been hit with higher positive cases. Phase 1 commenced in late December 2020 with only a specified allotment of doses. The allocation of these doses was expected to fluctuate and, therefore, consequently affect the plans’ sequence.

Phase 2 is anticipated to commence in April 2021, but of course, we should be prepared for possible delays. This phase will continue priority population immunization while providing widespread vaccine access to immunize the general population. The distribution will occur throughout the province at public health clinics and other vaccination delivery sites.

Please be advised that our profession falls in Phase 2, which has not yet commenced. I understand the frustration and concern for our members and the public; however, please remain patient. The MOH has put a lot of time and energy into developing the most efficient plan they can, given their resources. Please understand that this is not an easy task for anyone involved, and we should commend the MOH for their tireless dedication to keeping the residents of Saskatchewan safe.

Please see the links below for more detailed information on the Vaccine Delivery Plan:

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay happy.

December 15, 2020

Please read the following memo from our NIRO representative, Arlene Miller for the latest SHA Guidelines:

As your NIRO representative for the SCO, I would like to remind all licensed members to remain vigilant as COVID-19 cases continue to reach record numbers in our province and across the country. The Government of Saskatchewan has announced new restrictive measures again yesterday, which will be in effect by December 25, 2020. The SHA urges everyone to continue following public health measures and personal safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including following physical distancing guidelines to maintain 2 metres of separation, implementing proper hygiene practices and complying with ALL provincial health orders, not just what suits your business’ needs. Please see the link below which outlines the newest announcement from the Saskatchewan Government. Please remember that our primary mandate is to serve and protect the public. These measures are also in place for your own protection. SHA has given the responsibility to all regulatory bodies to ensure the public follows these health measures and personal safety precautions while leading by example. Health care providers MUST take all required measures to mitigate risks of the virus spreading. These measures include making sure all patients and staff are wearing masks as mandated by the Saskatchewan Government. Limiting the number of patients sitting in a waiting room or visiting a clinic, making appointments for all patients entering your establishment is the safest and most effective practice. The new requirements effective December 25 will apply to all essential and non-essential retail services which must see a reduction in capacity to 50 per cent. We are all in this together, please stay safe and ensure the safety of the public as well. I wish everyone a safe and healthy Christmas! Cheers to a better year in 2021!

November 9, 2020

Please read the following on the new health order on masking.

October 5, 2020

Guidance on Non-Medical Cloth Masks

While the primary driver of COVID-19 transmission is by people who are symptomatic, there is increasing evidence that some COVID-19 infected people who never develop symptoms or are not yet sick are able to transmit the virus. Sometimes the symptoms are so mild that people don’t pay attention to them. The Public Health Agency of Canada is now recommending wearing a non-medical mask in the community even if you have no symptoms, as an additional measure to protect others around you. Non-medical or cloth face coverings can play an important role in situations and community settings where physical distancing is not possible or is unpredictable (such as on public transit or in grocery stores) and when the local epidemiology and rate of community transmission warrant it. For more information see Fact Sheet: Wearing of Masks in Community Settings.

Do you know how to wear your mask properly?

July 15, 2020

Memo – SHA Reminds Regulatory Professionals to Remain Vigilant with COVID-19

June 1, 2020

If any Opticians or Contact Lens Practitioners are looking for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), please contact the SCO.

May 31, 2020

For information regarding Appropriate Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), click on the following links:

May 20, 2020

Update from Dr. Susan Shaw, SHA Chief Medical Officer

May 13, 2020

Memo from the Ministry of Health, Saskatchewan Health Authority, and NIRO:
Message to Saskatchewan Regulated Health Care Professionals During the COVID-19 Response

May 5, 2020

The Saskatchewan Health Authority will be initiating a phased resumption of health care services on May 19, 2020.

This process will start to reverse some of the services changes and reductions that had been initiated at earlier phases of the SHA’s COVID-19 Readiness Plan.

Please click on the following link to read the release:
Government of Saskatchewan Readiness Plan

May 4, 2020

Critical Public Services to Address COVID-19 and Allowable Business Services

Please click on the following link to view the May 3rd Public Health Order from Dr. Saqib Shahab, Government of Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer:
Public Health Order – May 3, 2020

April 28, 2020 – News Release – Government of Saskatchewan

New Pandemic Modelling Shows Improved Outlook for SK

April 28, 2020 – Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan

Any members/registrants that have questions or concerns regarding May 4th re-opening of dispensaries for PPE, disinfection protocol and social distancing requirements, please click on the following link to view the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan presented by the Government of Saskatchewan:

RE-OPEN SASKATCHEWAN PLAN

On May 4, public access to medical services will be reinstated, including access to dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, opticians, podiatry, occupational therapy, and chiropractic treatment. When it is not possible to physically distance, providers will be required to take precautionary measures as outlined by the Chief Medical Health Officer. For further information please click on the following link:

PROVINCE ANNOUNCES RE-OPEN SASKATCHEWAN PLAN

April 23, 2020

To see the most recent information from the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) please click on the following link:

STUDENTS!! Click on the following link for information regarding the NACOR Student Examinations:

April 17, 2020

The Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment program provides financial assistance to small businesses in Saskatchewan that have been ordered to temporarily close or significantly curtail operations during the public emergency period due to a public health order to help control the transmission of COVID-19.Financial assistance includes a payment that can be used for any purpose which may include assisting businesses to cover fixed costs or to reopen the business once the pandemic is over.The program is operated by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Finance.

Please click on the following link for more information:

April 4, 2020 – Update on COVID-19

Please click on the following link to take you to the most recent Public Health Order – April 4, 2020

March 26, 2020 – Update on COVID-19

We have been advised that for our profession, we provide a medical appliance that aids and or corrects visual disturbances which is necessary for quality of life. We fall under the health care services category which is listed in the critical public services list released by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) yesterday. Dispensaries can remain open for emergency services only or can provide on-call delivery of emergency services. With the new announcements yesterday which includes restrictions of a 10 person maximum gatherings of public and social distancing in the workplace, this leaves little reason for a dispensary to remain open, other than emergency services.

March 20, 2020 – Update on COVID-19

At this time the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health has not mandated private dispensaries to close.

For the latest Public Health Agency of Canada facts on Coronavirus and details on federal programs, please click on the following link:
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – Benefits and services

For additional provincial information and support for small businesses and employees and self-employed members, please click on the following link:
Saskatchewan Ministry of Health

March 15, 2020 – Memo to SCO Membership

The Saskatchewan College of Opticians is concerned about the health and safety of our member opticians as well as their support staff. Our first obligation is to keep ourselves and our patients healthy. Viruses are opportunistic and look for openings to spread, we need to work together to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Our hearts and thoughts go out to the people that have been affected by this unprecedented event, and we appreciate the health care workers, local communities, and governments around the world who are on the front line working to contain this Coronavirus.

Please know the Saskatchewan College of Opticians is monitoring this situation and have taken precautions to reduce the risk of visiting our dispensaries and clinics.

The following are some initiatives that should be employed to help control the spread of this virus:

Recommended Daily Disinfecting Protocols

While our equipment is always disinfected as normal protocol, we are reminding everyone of some daily disinfection protocols for other areas/touch-points of the store/office that should be implemented immediately.

Personal Hygiene:

Hand washing must be performed immediately upon entering the office in the morning, before and after significant contact with any patient and after activities likely to cause contamination, for example, eating or handling food, emptying waste paper baskets, going to the toilet, blowing/wiping/touching one’s nose and mouth, and after coughing and sneezing. When seeing patients or when in any area other than the privacy of the restroom, avoid touching your own face, nose, mouth, and eyes.

Proper Hand Washing

Hand-care products, such as plain (non-antimicrobial) soap and antiseptic products, can become contaminated. To avoid contamination, closed containers should be used to store liquid products and should be washed and dried thoroughly before being refilled.

Although both alcohol-based hand rinses and gels decrease bacterial counts on hands, alcohol-based hand rinses are more effective than alcohol-based hand gels. Soap has mild antibacterial properties, but it does not kill viruses. It does remove dirt, though, so wet your hands thoroughly with warm water, lather them up properly with soap on both sides, in between the fingers and under the nails, one hand and then the other. Rinse them thoroughly under running water for 20 seconds. Rinsing thoroughly is key to washing away any viruses. Dry your hands well with a disposable towel, then use that towel to turn off the tap before throwing it away.

Paper towels are superior to air dryers because the towels dry your hands more quickly and more thoroughly than dryers do, and contamination happens more through wet hands than dry.

Infection Prevention and Control Canada says the effectiveness of hand-hygiene procedures is decreased when a person has cuts and abrasions (as intact skin is a natural defense against infection). Cuts and abrasions should be covered with water-resistant band-aids.

The guidelines recommend that fingernails are kept clean and short, that artificial nails are not worn and that if nail polish is used, it should not be chipped and should be removed every four days.

Long sleeves and items of clothing that are not regularly laundered, such as sweaters, suit jackets, ties, and so on, have the potential to be routes for patient-to-patient transmission of pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus (including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Either wear elbow-length sleeves or regularly dry clean or launder these items.

Clinic and Office Areas:

Wipe down all surfaces in their department or work area, including keyboards with Lysol wipes daily. Sinks must be kept clean. Use Lysol to regularly disinfect faucet handles, flush activator, grab bars, and doorknobs. The front door handles should be wiped down with Lysol by the first person to open and the last to leave. If you are not sure it was done, do it again.

Place all pens used throughout the day into a tray and spray with alcohol. Let dry overnight. (Take the pen away after its single-use and place it in a tray behind the counter taking it out of circulation).

Remove all magazines, children’s toys, etc. that would be used by multiple people and are not necessary for patient care.

Front Desk and Dispensary:

  • There should be absolutely no food or drink brought out to the dispensing room or front desk.
  • Keep the front desk supplied with hand sanitizer for patient use.
  • Where possible, have the opticians only handle frames.

ANY SURFACE THAT HAS COME IN CONTACT WITH A PATIENT’S FACE OR HANDS SHOULD BE WIPED WITH ALCOHOL. THIS INCLUDES FRAMES.

Frames that would be damaged by alcohol should be washed with warm soapy water before being replaced on the shelf. Place all “tried on” frames in a tray for sanitizing before returning on the shelf.

For additional information, you can visit the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health website, which has published various guidance documents for health care workers.