Northern Sask. residents told to avoid non-essential travel

Non-essential travel in the Northern Saskatchewan Administration District is being discouraged right now, but not restricted.

Advisory prompted by growing case numbers linked to the south

This latest recommendation from regional medical health officers is not a restriction under the current chief medical health officer's provincial public health order. (Bridget Yard/CBC)

Residents of northern Saskatchewan are being advised to avoid non-essential travel outside their home communities.

The "strong recommendation" comes from the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), the Athabasca Health Authority and the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority.

In a joint release, the health authorities said the advisory has been prompted by increasing COVID-19 case numbers in the north — many of which, they said, are linked to travel to areas in the south and outside the province.

Over the weekend, Saskatchewan reported 14 new deaths of people who had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. On Sunday, the province reported that the far north west and the far north east zones have 185 and 188 active cases respectively, accounting for about nine per cent of all cases in the province. As of Sunday, there were 4,188 active cases in the province.

This past spring, the provincial government imposed travel restrictions on northern Saskatchewan before eventually lifting them.

But the health authorities said this latest recommendation from regional medical health officers is not a restriction under the current chief medical health officer's provincial public health order.

A release from the SHA points to the list of critical public services on the Government of Saskatchewan website as examples of essential services.

Using that list as a guide, essential travel would include accessing health care, including dentistry, physiotherapy and physical therapy; anything related to public safety, including accessing the legal system; and accessing government and community services, including child care, suicide prevention services and animal shelters.

Travel for work in the fields of health care, law enforcement, public safety, first responders and government and community services would also be considered essential.

See the full list of critical public services from the Government of Saskatchewan website below.

Health care and public health workers:

  • 811 and 911 call centre workers.
  • Businesses that provide products and/or services that support the health sector or that provide health services.
  • Canadian Red Cross and Canadian Blood Services.
  • Caregivers.
  • Chiropractic.
  • Dentistry.
  • Home services for seniors, the disabled and the vulnerable.
  • Occupations in health and social services.
  • Occupational therapy.
  • Optometry and optician services.
  • Laboratories and specimen collection centres.
  • Medical facilities.
  • Pharmacies.
  • Physiotherapy.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Pre-hospital and emergency services (i.e. paramedics, dispatchers).
  • Private seniors' residences and services.
  • Private professional resources offices (health network).
  • Production, supply and distribution of drugs, vaccines and pharmaceutical goods and medical equipment, including laboratory and research centres.
  • Specialized resources in accommodation (i.e. domestic violence, homelessness, addictions).
  • Therapy.
  • Podiatry.

Law enforcement, public safety and first responders

  • 911 call centre workers.
  • Administrative tribunals, boards and hearings.
  • Civil security, coroners and pathology.
  • Communication services.
  • Corrections.
  • Courthouse (staff required to maintain minimum operations).
  • Emergency planning coordination, management and responders.
  • Fire alarm / sprinkler services.
  • Fire services.
  • Forest firefighters and all types of professionals supporting civil security operations.
  • Hazardous material responders from government and the private sector.
  • Legal and professional services that support the legal and justice system.
  • Police services, including the distribution of emergency calls.
  • Professional and social services that support the legal and justice system.
  • Special constables.
  • Security agencies.
  • Workers, including contracted vendors, who maintain digital infrastructure supporting law enforcement and emergency service options.

Government and community services:

  • Academic and medical research.
  • All utilities (i.e. power, gas, water/wastewater, telephone) and service providers.
  • Resources deemed essential by the municipalities or First Nation Bands (i.e. administration, public workers, etc.).
  • Animal shelters.
  • Air ambulance, STARS.
  • Asset management services.
  • Educators and support staff for child care.
  • Election administrators.
  • Food inspection.
  • Funeral homes, cremation and cemeteries.
  • Income security and social security.
  • Online higher education.
  • Providers of goods and services for vulnerable citizens.
  • Public health inspection.
  • Suicide prevention services.
  • Support services for victims of domestic violence.
  • Training related to jobs and critical public services.
  • Veterinary services and animal care (including animal grooming and boarding services).
  • Waste collection, disposal and recycling.
(CBC News Graphics)

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