The immunize or mask policy is now in effect in the Cypress Health Region.
Emphasizing public, patient and staff safety, all visitors and members of the public are expected to wear a mask when entering Cypress Health Region facilities and sites where patient care and services are provided, unless they have received their influenza immunization this fall.
Effective as of November 26, 2014 anyone who has made the choice not to be immunized this fall against influenza (the flu) will be expected to wear a surgical/procedure mask in patient care and service locations until the Chief Medical Health Officer of Saskatchewan declares influenza season as over. Masks will be available at all facilities for visitors to utilize, along with gel hand sanitizer for further protection.
The requirement to be immunized or wear a mask is part of a new province-wide ‘Influenza Immunize or Mask Policy’ in effect in all Saskatchewan health regions and the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency. It applies to all health care staff and members of the public who come into hospitals, long term care facilities, primary health care sites, public health locations, and other sites where health programs and services are accessed. It includes common areas in these facilities such as hallways, lobbies, and waiting rooms. As well, patient/resident rooms, wards, units, departments and other areas where health care is provided.
All Cypress Health employees and other health professionals including physicians were offered the choice to receive their influenza immunization or be required to wear a mask while in patient care areas during the provincially declared influenza season.
Visitors, including volunteers, students, vendors, and contractors, are also expected to wear a mask if they have not received their influenza immunization.
The policy also applies in community settings where Cypress Health staff delivers services to patients or clients in their homes. In addition, public locations such as Wellness Clinics are included in the policy.
“The objective of the annual influenza prevention campaign is to optimize the health and safety of everyone,” said Dr. David Torr, Consulting Medical Health Officer for the Cypress Health Region. “Getting your immunization every year is the most effective way to guard against the effects of influenza, but the other measures are very supportive to the overall goals of the program.”
Dr. Torr added that there are still opportunities available for the general public and Cypress Health staff members to get their annual influenza immunization. “There are a number of drop-in clinics available through the region’s public health nursing offices, and we would like to see a higher number of people choosing this best option to protect themselves, their families, and others around them.”
Over 13,000 influenza immunizations have been provided through the region’s public and employee health nursing programs this year. This accounts for an approximate total of 29% of the general public living in the region. The most recent statistics have identified that 73% of the region’s staff have been vaccinated against the flu and with the remaining available drop-in clinic options, that percentage is anticipated to increase.
Additional information about the location and dates of the remaining drop-in influenza clinics is available by visiting the health region’s website. Flu shots are also available at some medical clinics and pharmacies.