Saskatchewan. Premier Scott Moe tests positive for COVID-19
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe tested positive in a rapid antigen test for COVID-19 on Thursday, the day after he appeared at an in-person press conference on the province’s COVID situation. .
Moe’s publicist, Julie Leggott, said in an email that Moe regularly uses rapid antigen tests to monitor COVID-19. She said he had no symptoms, despite testing positive.
I tested positive this morning for COVID-19 on a rapid antigen test.
I feel fine, but I will self-isolate and work from home for the next five days. pic.twitter.com/RCXIbzp5nj
Moe’s last negative test was on Sunday evening, Leggott said.
Moe and provincial chief medical officer Dr. Saqib Shahab were present at Wednesday’s press conference at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building.
Shahab kept his mask on while speaking, but Moe removed his mask several times to speak or answer questions from reporters.
At a provincial emergency operations center (PEOC) press conference on Thursday, Shahab said he was told he was considered close contact with Moe, but noted he was keeping his ” mask at all times.
Shahab said his mask choice depended on the situation, but he switched from a cloth mask earlier in the pandemic to a KN95-type mask. Shahab said he has been reusing medical masks for dozens of hours and recommends saving the masks unless people are in a health care facility.
“Many of us will face [a COVID-19] exposure and in most cases we won’t even know because if they don’t do a regular antigen test like the Prime Minister was doing…there wouldn’t even be that notification,” Shahab said. .
Shahab said that at the household level, one to two rapid antigen tests per person each week – potentially more depending on the person’s profession – are sufficient and people should not over-test.
He said close contacts should consider getting tested on days three, five and seven after exposure, as he will be in close contact with Prime Minister Moe.
“Our family do antigen tests regularly, those who are in school for example do it more regularly,” he said.
In his email, Leggott suggested “all participants [at the news conference] should self-monitor and perform a rapid test, and all close contacts in the past 48 hours have been notified in accordance with public health guidelines.”
Leggott said Moe has “followed all COVID-19 protocols as per public health order” and will self-isolate at home for five days as per current requirements.
Ryan Meili, the provincial opposition leader, wished the premier a “speedy recovery” in a statement Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a good reminder to follow Dr Shahab’s advice on wearing medical-grade masks and avoiding unnecessary gatherings,” he said.
“Given that the Prime Minister did not perform a rapid antigen test before visiting a school in La Loche and visiting northern communities or before hosting a media event at the Legislative Assembly, I encourage the office of the Prime Minister to work with public health to ensure that all potential close contacts have been notified.”
I wish the Premier and all those in Saskatchewan who have contracted COVID a speedy recovery.
The Prime Minister has his booster shot, which puts him in a good position to recover quickly.
We know Omicron spreads quickly – if you haven’t had your shot yet, go for it.
Days after his last negative rapid antigen test on Sunday, Prime Minister Moe was pictured at several public events, including an announcement at a primary school in La Loche and a discussion about mental health and addictions support at Pinehouse , Lac La Ronge and Buffalo Narrows. Both happened on Monday.
Leggott said attendees of these events or gatherings are not considered close contacts because they are outside of the 48-hour window identified by public health.
“As Prime Minister Moe tested positive this morning, any activity on or before January 10 falls outside of this timeframe,” she said.
Stopping by Buffalo Narrows today with Premier Moe and Minister Duncan for a discussion on mental health and addictions supports. Thank you to the healthcare teams in northern Saskatchewan for the great work they do to support communities like Buffalo Narrows. pic.twitter.com/BwP1ybIoOu
When asked why the Prime Minister had not carried out a rapid antigen test before attending Wednesday’s in-person press conference, Leggott referred to Shahab’s advice to test rapidly weekly as a monitoring tool.
She also defended the Prime Minister’s decision to remove his mask, saying the current public health order allows “individuals to remove their mask during a press conference”.
Moe will not request a PCR test yet because he is not symptomatic, she said.
Exactly two weeks before Moe’s positive rapid antigen test, there was a press conference in the legislature that put him and Health Minister Paul Merriman at risk for COVID-19.
Both monitored for symptoms of COVID-19 after someone who attended the press conference tested positive for the virus.
Moe also took off his mask several times to speak and answer questions during this press conference.