News – COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we are committed to ensuring that all clients and families feel supported and informed by us at Carewest.

See updated CMOH recommendations for visitor restrictions, below:

Visitor restrictions for continuing care

UPDATE:

While visiting, we are asking you to practice as much caution as possible. Please observe the following guidelines:

  • Visitors will still be asked for proof of vaccination prior to entering our care centres;
  • For those who are vaccinated, consider using a Rapid Antigen Test before visiting our care centres, to see if you are able to visit safely. We continue to Rapid Test all unvaccinated visitors, prior to entering our care centres;
  • All visitors must wear the medical masks provided at the entrance of the site for the duration of their visit and we recommend the use of a face shield as well;
  • Avoid sharing food and drink while visiting;
  • If you have recently travelled internationally, consider postponing your visit for 14 days after arrival to Canada.
  • Get vaccinated. If you haven’t already been vaccinated, please do so. If you have, please sign up to get your booster shot. The government recently opened the third-dose booster shots to all Albertans aged 18+, who had their last dose at least five months prior;
  • Above all else, do NOT visit if you are feeling unwell. Stay home and isolate for five days or until all symptoms resolve, whichever is longer. Just a reminder, even if fully vaccinated, visitors and volunteers will not be permitted to enter the site for 14 days following known close contact with any case of COVID-19.

Carewest has supplied iPads at each facility to help facilitate video calls and appreciates everyone’s willingness to connect virtually.  We also ask you to be mindful that, if visiting in a group, to keep that group small. The less people we have coming in and out of our care centres, the less the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Current active cases of COVID-19 at Carewest

Carewest Site Staff: Active Cases Clients: Active Cases
Dr. Vernon Fanning 5 15
Colonel Belcher 0 3
George Boyack 0 0
Glenmore Park 6 0
Sarcee 0 0
Garrison Green 0 0
Signal Pointe 0 0
Royal Park 0 0
Rouleau Manor 4 9
Nickle House 0 0
C3 Beddington 0 0
This table was last updated June 17, 2022 at 3:15 p.m. Please note that the numbers in this table are reflective of only the PCR-confirmed staff and client cases and only those that impact the outbreak status at the site.

We continue to work vigilantly to ensure all Carewest sites are operating safely, and with the health of clients at the focus of all we do in these trying times. We have been doing and will continue to do all we can to prevent further transmission of COVID-19 at all Carewest facilities. We will continue to keep you and your loved ones informed as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here is what we're doing to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our care centres
  • Care staff are restricted to working at one site only, to prevent the transmission of the virus between facilities. This is happening across the province.
  • All residents with any symptoms of illness are isolated to their rooms. Staff caring for them wear contact/droplet PPE and change that PPE between rooms.
  • All staff, physicians, essential visitors and contractors are screened for symptoms of illness upon arrival to the care centre and required to answer a questionnaire.

In addition to this, Carewest has implemented the following measures:

  • Updated visitor screening: Even when fully vaccinated, visitors and volunteers will not be permitted to enter the site for 14 days following known close contact with any case of COVID-19. Visitors are also required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccine prior to entry.
  • Rapid Antigen Testing: Carewest offers Rapid Antigen testing (RAS) for vaccinated staff and vaccinated visitors at the screening stations. We continue to Rapid Antigen Test all unvaccinated visitors, prior to entering our care centres.
  • PPE for staff and visitors: All staff and visitors must wear the medical masks provided at the entrance of the site while they are working or visiting our care centres. We also provide and encourage the wearing of eye protection for staff and visitors (however staff must wear this when working at a site on outbreak). We also have a supply of KN95 or N95 respirator masks for staff working with residents and clients with suspected, presumed or confirmed COVID-19.
  • Vaccines: The primary defense against the virus continues to be vaccination, with nearly all of our residents and clients receiving their booster shot.
  • Virtual connections: Carewest has supplied iPads at each facility to help facilitate video calls and encourages everyone to connect virtually. 
  • Resident and client masking: Any resident or client who is a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case or who returns to the care centre after 24 hours or greater in the community, must wear a procedure mask for 14 days post-exposure or post-return whenever they are outside their own rooms.
  • Limiting group activities: We have asked our recreation therapists to keep group activities small and to cohort group activities to the same unit.
  • OSI COVID Wellness Support Program for staff: Carewest Operational Stress Injury Clinic developed and launched a Staff COVID Wellness Support Program, to support staff in maintaining their well-being during the pandemic. The program offers nine hour-long, pre-recorded online sessions designed to equip staff with information, assessments and tools to help gain resilience and address the impact COVID-19 may have had on all our employees.

Click here to see the most up-to-date numbers of cases of COVID-19 in Alberta.

Continuous masking

In alignment with the most current CMOH order 58-2021, which states the rise of community transmission of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and the yet unknown challenges it will present to long-term care, licensed supportive living, and hospices, requires immediate action.

  • Effective immediately, and as supplies allow, it is recommended that all staff use either awell-fitted surgical/procedure mask OR a seal-checked respirator continuously while on shift.
  • Any staff member providing direct care to a suspect, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 is required to wear PPE that is comprised of eye protection, gown, gloves and a respirator.
  • Options for respirator include a fit-tested, seal-checked N-95 mask, OR a non-fit tested, seal-tested N-95 mask OR a seal-checked KN-95 mask.
  • Visiting persons may use their own seal-checked KN-95 mask. If they do not have one, a well fitted surgical/procedure mask is required.
    • LTC, DSL and hospice operators are required to offer visitors a surgical/procedure mask if visitors do not have their own KN-95.

 Continuous Masking

  • All staff, students, service providers, and volunteers must continuously wear either a well-fitted surgical/procedure mask OR a seal-checked respirator continuously while on shift at all times and in any areas of the site where care/treatment is being provided, along with any non-care areas of the site except when working alone in an office or when a barrier is in place.
    • This would apply in direct resident or client care is provided, when entering resident care areas, when working in areas the resident or client can freely access (i.e. office space with an open door) and when you cannot maintain adequate physical distancing from residents or co-workers (a minimum of two metres or six feet).
    • The continuous masking requirement is applicable even in corporate offices. If you are in an office space or common area where people might enter and you are not able to maintain physical distancing, you are required to wear a mask except when working alone in an office or a safely distanced cubicle.
  • If staff are providing care to a resident with communication challenges where a mask would inhibit care being provided, operators have discretion to determine if circumstances are appropriate to use alternate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Visiting persons must wear either a well-fitted surgical/procedure mask in all indoor areas of the building OR may use their own seal-checked KN-95 mask.
    • LTC, DSL and Hospice operators must offer visiting persons a surgical/procedure mask if the visiting person does not have their own KN-95 mask.
    • Visiting persons who are spending time with residents with communication challenges (e.g. hearing concerns) where a mask would inhibit communication being provided, can remove mask while in a resident room if the resident consents and a distance of two meters is maintained between the visitor and the resident at all times.
  • Masks can be temporarily removed for the purposes of eating and drinking and be replaced immediately after the food/drink is complete. A distance of two meters should be maintained while the mask is removed.

 Eye Protection

  • Approved eye protection is highly recommended to be worn by all staff, at all times and in all areas of the workplace, in addition to a mask. However, if your Carewest site has a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak, continuous eye protection is mandatory. Continuous eye protection must also be used when providing care or services within two meters of a patient with COVID-19, probable COVID-19 or who is experiencing symptoms consistent with a respiratory tract infection.
  • Staff should be aware that at any time, entire sites may be directed by the Medical Officer of Health to mandate eye protection, (e.g. during a COVID outbreak).

Appropriate PPE

Appropriate PPE for health care workers providing direct care to a suspect, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 includes: respirators (options for respirator include a fit-tested, seal-checked N-95 mask, OR a non-fit tested, seal-tested N-95 mask OR a seal-checked KN-95 mask), eye protection (e.g., goggles, visor, or face shield), gloves and gown.

*Clients who are symptomatic for COVID-19 may present with symptoms including fever, cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat, chills, painful/difficulty swallowing, feeling unwell/fatigue/exhaustion, nausea/vomiting/ diarrhea, unexplained loss of appetite, loss of taste or smell, muscle/joint aches, headache, conjunctivitis, sneezing, altered mental state.

Proper disposal of PPE:

  • Properly disposing of PPE is equally as important as properly donning and doffing it. Used masks and gloves mustn’t be casually discarded. All disposable items should be thrown away in the garbage after each use. Make sure you wash or sanitize your hands before and after the removal and disposal of your PPE.

Please note: It is not a requirement that clients wear a mask but procedure masks should be worn by clients exhibiting respiratory symptoms or influenza-like illness (ILI), if they are cooperative and able to safely put on and take off a mask. Staff, clients, contractors and essential visitors are required to wear the procedure masks supplied by Carewest. Non-medical or homemade face masks cannot be worn by visitors, staff or clients in Carewest facilities. Also please note this does not change requirements to self-isolate when sick and that no one with symptoms of illness should come to Carewest facilities.

Click here to see a poster we developed for staff about how to safely put on and take off a procedure mask. Not all points in this poster apply to visitors but we wanted to share the applicable knowledge.

Temperature checks and enhanced screening

Essential visitors, health-care staff, phyisicans and contracted service providers across Alberta will be screened for COVID-19 at the start of every shift. All employees, physicians, contractors or visitors entering a Carewest facility will  be asked to fill out a questionnaire and anyone found to have a fever or who has symptoms will be sent home and told to self-isolate.

Carewest will be allocating regulated nurses or designate to conduct the screening at the site entrances. The assigned regulated nurses or designates will also be able to answer questions regarding the screening process, discuss results of the screening or next steps. Screening staff will be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to conduct these activities. If the screening results in one or more screening criteria not met the regulated nurses will review in detail and make an assessment whether the person is fit for work or visit the site, based on the screening criteria. Any staff or visitors who refuse to be screened will not be permitted access to the site.

The screening criteria is as follows:

  • You must not be experiencing any symptoms (even mild ones) of cough, fever, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and sore throat;
  • You must not have returned to Canada from another country within the past 14 days;
  • You must answer several questions coming in close contact with someone exhibiting influenza-like illness or who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Responsible VisitingPhysical distancingTips

Continuing Care settings pose challenges due to their unique environments and the individuals they serve. Particularly for older individuals and those with respiratory, cardiac or multiple chronic conditions, the risks of more severe symptoms and death from COVID-19 are greater. Special steps must be taken to prevent disease transmission when considering the movement of clients or residents, visitors and staff into and within the facilities.The safety of our clients and staff is of utmost importance. If you are deemed an essential visitor, please postpone your visit if:

  • If you were traveling in the last two weeks and are required to quarantine as per federal government guidelines.
  • If you are feeling unwell.
  • If you have been in close contact (within two metres) with someone who has been  feeling unwell.

Ask yourself these questions to determine if you should visit today.

Physical distancing will slow the progression of the spread of COVID-19, thus spreading the need of health resources over a longer period of time. Taiwan has been successful in this, while most other countries have been too slow to respond.

This virus is predicted to occur in 70% of the entire population, because no one has immunity. The key is slowing the spread down so that health resources are not taxed beyond their ability to help. Once health resources are overwhelmed, the death rate begins to climb. The elderly, immuno-compromised and those with significant chronic lung and heart disease are the most at risk of complications. We need to act quickly to slow the progression of spread.

Please see Alberta’s Mass Gathering Recommendations.

The COVID-19 virus can survive 1 to 9 days on surfaces, depending on the type of item (e.g. tin cans – 1 day, plastics – 1-3 days, cotton or cloth items – up to 9 days).

  • Washing all items brought in from public areas is important. As for fruits or vegetables, wash them when you bring them home.
  • High-touch areas need much more frequent cleaning. Light switches, door knobs, phones, computer accessories, toilets, sink faucets, handrails, buttons, chair arms, remote controls.
  • Measures that help include washing your hands, forgoing handshakes, coughing into your arm, staying home when you are sick and avoiding crowded areas.
  • International travel remains the greatest contact risk in Canada, but that is quickly now including attending any public events of 50 or more persons, domestic/Canada travel, attending work conferences. Stay home if you can.
  • All persons that can work from home are being asked to work from home.
  • Self-isolate at home, if you develop symptoms: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, chest pain, sore throat, runny nose or nasal congestion, muscle aches or pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Contact Health Link at 811 (public) if you have symptoms, and particularly with international travel. You can also use the new self-assessment tool from Alberta Health Services.

We will endeavour to keep you informed as we receive more information. Check back regularly, as this page will be updated often.

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