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City approves colour-coded framework for municipal COVID-19 safety response: at high-risk ‘Orange’

For immediate release: September 27, 2021 - 4:28pm
FI21-2535
To assist City Administration and City Council in making evidence-based decisions for the services and facilities within its control, City Council today approved the use of a colour-coded COVID-19 risk mitigation framework. The framework uses the best available data (indicators) to inform how and when to increase or relax various COVID-19 safety measures within the City’s legislative jurisdiction. 
 
The framework is colour-coded and based on a four-level risk assessment: 
  • green – minimal risk
  • yellow - caution
  • orange – high risk
  • red – critical risk
“Right now, we are in a high-risk ‘orange’ situation,” says Pamela Goulden-McLeod, Director, Saskatoon Emergency Management Organization. “We’re implementing this decision-making framework to better guide civic operations and interventions based on the current COVID-19 risk in Saskatoon.”  
 
“This is not to be considered another level or layer of health order – it’s a guide to help the City make decisions about how to best keep its staff safe and services going and to ensure transparency and predictability for staff and residents.”
 
The framework is designed to help City employees and residents who use City programs and services understand the current level of risk in the community and the measures that are in place to minimize the risk. 
 
“When fully implemented, this framework can help to limit the transmission of COVID-19 in our facilities and can help to lower the number of cases in our community and potential future hospitalizations. The goal of this framework is to prevent disruption to critical services and help our whole community move to the green, minimal-risk level.”
 
The framework also indicates that when the City, under the guidance from the Local Medical Health Officers (MHO), determines a measure specific to Saskatoon is required - and that measure is within the jurisdiction of the Province - a letter with a request from Mayor and Council will be sent to the Province. 
 
COVID-19 transmission continues to affect the delivery of City programs and services and requires ongoing health and safety measures to limit virus transmission in the workplace and community. Local MHO have assessed there is a high likelihood that the transmission of COVID-19 is uncontrolled in Saskatoon. 
 
“Since the onset of the pandemic, COVID-19 has resulted in continual adjustments to the City’s Occupational Health and Safety and Business Continuity Plans,” Goulden-McLeod explains. “These adjustments followed the public health directions from the Government of Saskatchewan and Local MHO employed by the Saskatchewan Health Authority.” 
 
Saskatoon is still amid a COVID-19 pandemic, she says and as the City moves through the framework, measures can be added or subtracted.
 
Measures are not automatically activated without a review process to determine their necessity and applicability. Steps prior to the activation of any measures will include:
  • review of current Public Health Orders
  • review of current COVID-19 situation
  • consultation with local MHO and other key stakeholders
  • review by City Council
  • any approved measures would be activated on the first day of the next month and would remain in place until a review at the next Council meeting
The measures respect the authority of the role of the City and the Province and acknowledge the areas of responsibility of each. The Province has the jurisdiction for Public Health and the City will always follow this leadership and guidance through Public Health Orders.  
 
Moreover, this framework supports and adds to any Provincial Public Health Orders that may be in place at the time: it operates in the absence of applicable formal Public Health Orders, or in addition to the Public Health Orders.
 
This information will be updated as necessary on saskatoon.ca/covid-19