SASKATOON -- Saskatchewan’s family physicians want residents to stay home and save lives.

“Abiding by the public health guidelines on physical distancing will do more than anything else to assist family physicians as they deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as their regular patients who still need to come into their doctors’ offices for care,” said Dr. Carla Holinaty, a Saskatoon family physician who is chair of the Saskatchewan Medical Association’s family practice section, in a news release.

“Family physicians are part of front-line care during the pandemic and are often the first point of contact for people who suspect they might have contracted the COVID-19 virus,” Holinaty said. “We need all the help we can get. This is true of the health-care system but especially from the public.

Under federal order, travellers returning to Canada must quarantine for 14 days and in Saskatchewan gatherings of up to 10 people are now prohibited. If people need to be around others they should maintain two metres of separation and avoid contact, such as shaking hands, Holinaty said.

If a person has COVID-19 symptoms, they must call ahead to their doctor’s office before arriving. The clinic needs to make preparations for them to safely enter the building without putting others at risk and will give instructions on what to do, the SMA says.

Dr. Danielle Cutts, a Regina family physician and past-president of the Saskatchewan College of Family Physicians, says family physicians are still providing comprehensive, patient-centred care during this time.

“You should call your family doctor about any health concerns you have."