SASKATOON -- Saskatoon police used "spit socks" 57 per cent more often in 2020 compared to 2019.

The number of uses rose to 44 from 28, according to a use of force report to the Board of Police Commissioners.

Spit socks are a disposable head cover used while arresting people spitting at officers, the report says.

"Information gleaned from officer's reports would indicate that this is due to perceived and at times threatened attempt of suspects to spit the COVID-19 disease at arresting officers," the report says.

The socks mean police do not have to use further physical force to prevent assault against them, the report says.

The use of spit socks was among the issues raised after the death of a mentally distraught Black man in March 2020, several days after his encounter with police in Rochester, New York.

The board is set to meet on Thursday.