On December 1, visitors who have not been immunized against the influenza virus will be asked to wear masks while in Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR) facilities.
“Our primary focus during the influenza season is trying to ensure our population is protected from influenza virus as much as possible,” said Dr. Tania Diener, RQHR’s Medical Health Officer. “Our free public influenza immunization clinics have been very busy to date, but we know not all visitors to our health care facilities will have received the immunization by December 1.”
“During the influenza season, which begins December 1 and is expected to continue until April, we are asking those members of the public who have not yet received an influenza immunization to wear a disposable mask while in our facilities, to help protect our patients, staff and other visitors from the influenza virus,” she said.
Disposable masks will be available for visitors at all public entryways to RQHR facilities.
In addition, a new Influenza Immunize or Mask Policy for RQHR staff comes into effect December 1.
“We are very encouraged by staff uptake for influenza immunization to date, with nearly 75% of RQHR employees already immunized,” said John Paul Cullen, Executive Director of RQHR’s Workforce Strategy, Safety and Wellness branch.
“However, we know some staff cannot or choose not to receive the immunization for a number of reasons. We want our patients to understand and appreciate why their caregivers may be wearing a mask, and also encourage visitors to join them in wearing a mask while visiting our facilities if they have not been immunized against influenza,” he said.
“Influenza can be serious and causes extended illness, hospitalization and even deaths each year in Saskatchewan,” Diener said. “Patients in health care facilities, including long-term care facilities, are particularly at risk of influenza infection. We would encourage all residents of the RQHR to help protect themselves, their families and their neighbours and friends by getting immunized against influenza, or wearing a mask while in RQHR facilities.”
Influenza immunizations continue to be offered free of charge. In Regina, drop-in clinics will be offered at Dieppe School, 145 Dorothy St. (Off Dewdney Ave. West), today from noon until 7 pm, and at the same location on Mondays in December (December 1, 8, 15, 22) from noon until 7:00 pm.. To book an appointment at another time in Regina, please call 306-766-7700. Immunization appointments can still be booked in rural RQHR communities as well; click here for the correct contact number for your community.