Premier Scott Moe during a tour of the COVID-19 mass immunization clinic and drive-thru immunization space at International Trade Centre in Regina on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Bell

Premier Scott Moe during a tour of the COVID-19 mass immunization clinic and drive-thru immunization space at International Trade Centre in Regina on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Bell

Saskatchewan premier tests positive for COVID-19

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has tested positive for COVID-19 using a rapid antigen test.

A statement from his office Thursday said he was not experiencing any symptoms.

Moe said in a posting on Twitter that he felt fine, was self-isolating and was working from home for the next five days.

In Saskatchewan, those who test positive on a rapid test are asked not to get a molecular lab test unless they’re experiencing moderate or severe symptoms in order to preserve testing capacity.

A day before his positive test Thursday, the premier attended a COVID-19 briefing at the Saskatchewan legislature and took off his mask for the 90-minute news conference.

Some 14 people were in the room, including the province’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, government officials and members of the media. They were being asked to self-monitor for symptoms.

Shahab, who wore an N95 mask at all times during the briefing, said he’s confident it will keep him protected and encouraged everyone to upgrade their masks.

He said he will take a rapid test three, five and seven days following possible exposure.

The government said Moe’s last negative result, through routine testing, was Sunday evening, one day before he attended Ducharme Elementary School in La Loche, Sask., with Education Minister Dustin Duncan to make a funding announcement.

Both politicians were unmasked at times during the announcement, which public health orders allow.

Those who attended the event, including elementary school students, are not deemed close contacts of Moe.

“The current time frame for close contacts identified by public health is 48 hours,” Julie Leggott, deputy chief of staff to Moe, said in a statement.

Leggott said all members of the legislature, including Duncan, routinely self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and follow all protocols should they test positive. That would include notifying all close contacts and self-isolating for the required time.

Politicians across Canada were quick to offer supportive words to the Saskatchewan premier.

Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole wished Moe “all the best,” while Saskatchewan and Alberta NDP leaders, Ryan Meili and Rachel Notley, wished him a speedy recovery.

Moe and Shahab have both indicated they are vaccinated against COVID-19 and have had their booster shots.