|Update on COVID-19 As of March 26, 2020|
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.
Critical Public Services to Address COVID-19 and Allowable Business Services
Update on COVID-19 as of March 20, 2020:
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
Memo to SCO Membership on March 15, 2020:
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.
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.