|December 15, 2020|
Please read the following memo from our NIRO rep, 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.
Public Health Order – 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?
Wearing an non-medical 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:
Information for the Public for (PPE)
Information for Employers for (PPE)
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
Government of Saskatchewan – News Release -April 28, 2020
New Pandemic Modelling Shows Improved Outlook for SK
Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan – April 28, 2020
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:
Government of Saskatchewan
STUDENTS!! Click on the following link for information regarding the NACOR Student Examinations:
NACOR Student Examination Update – April 17, 2020
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:
Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment Program
Memo to SCO Membership – April 9, 2020
Update on COVID-19 As of April 4, 2020
Please click on the following link to take you to the most recent Public Health Order – April 4, 2020
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.