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:

Updated visitor restrictions - July 13, 2021

UPDATE:

The Government of Alberta is taking a two-phased approach to easing the restrictions they had previously placed on continuing care settings. The government recognizes the desire of residents, clients and family/support persons for easing restrictions while balancing the need to ensure protective measures are still in place against the spread of COVID-19. In addition, vaccinations have greatly reduced the negative outcomes related to COVID-19 infections. Carewest is working to actively coordinate these changes prior to the July 31 deadline.

Effective July 31, 2021, Phase 1 will include:

  • The removal of the cap on numbers and limitations on visitors to continuing care centres:
    • Residents will no longer be limited in the number of visitors they can have.
    • Appointments for visitation will no longer need to be booked online or with the care centre. Visitors can come and go freely, as per pre-pandemic process.
    • Visitors are still required to wear a mask while in common spaces in the site. However, in resident rooms or other private areas in the site, masks can be removed when visiting or while eating/drinking. In shared rooms, masks can be removed as long as a 2-metre distance can be maintained from the other resident(s) and any other visiting person(s) in the room.
  • Removing some of the dining and activity limitations currently in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Residents can resume all recreation activities (card playing, singing, musical performances, group meal preparation, buffets). Tables in dining rooms are no longer required to be six feet apart and residents can dine with family members and friends. Food can also be brought by family members into our sites.
  • Removing the requirement for residents to be screened upon re-entering the building or to quarantine if they have gone off-site. However, in specific circumstances, such as returning from an outbreak unit of a healthcare facility, residents may be required to quarantine.

The following restrictions will remain in place:

  • Masking: Visitors are still required to wear a mask while in common spaces in the site. However, in resident rooms or other private areas in the site, masks can be removed when visiting or while eating/drinking. It is strongly recommended that visitors who are not yet fully vaccinated, including children under age 12, wear masks continuously and in all areas of the building, including resident rooms.
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfection routines in common areas
  • Single-site staffing requirements
  • Testing guidelines
  • Isolation and quarantine protocols
  • Outbreak procedures (outbreaks can still be triggered by a positive COVID-19 test result)
  • Keeping 2 metres distance from others is encouraged, especially if you are not fully vaccinated
  • Rapid testing is available for all visitors to our care centres, upon request

These remaining restrictions may be lifted in Phase 2, at a later date.

Alberta’s two-phased approach was informed by extensive feedback from continuing care operators, Alberta Health Services and from more than 2,000 residents, family members and others who participated in telephone town halls in late June.

Thanks for your patience and understanding as we work to implement these changes between now and July 31.

Book your visit at Carewest

*Note – Appointments for visitation will no longer need to be booked online or with the care centre. Visitors can come and go freely, as per pre-pandemic process. The online booking tool will be decommissioned on July 31, 2021.

Current active cases of COVID-19 at Carewest

Carewest Site Staff: Active Cases Staff: Active Variant of Concern Clients: Active Cases Clients: Active Variant of Concern
Dr. Vernon Fanning 0 0 0 0
Colonel Belcher 0 0 0 0
George Boyack 0 0 0 0
Glenmore Park 0 0 0 0
Sarcee 0 0 0 0
Garrison Green 0 0 0 0
Signal Pointe 0 0 0 0
Royal Park 0 0 0 0
Rouleau Manor 0 0 0 0
Nickle House 0 0 0 0
C3 Beddington 0 0 0 0
This table was last updated July 29th, 2021 at 3:36 p.m. Please note that all staff who are ill are self-isolating at home and clients who are ill are isolating in their rooms.

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.

Residents and families click here for more information about volunteering on the committee or  providing input into the development of national LTC standards.

Click here to take the University of Alberta survey How has COVID-19 Affected Alberta Family Caregivers

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 staff working in client care areas or who cannot maintain the two metres required for physical distancing are required to wear a procedure mask while at work.
  • 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.

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

Continuous masking

June 2021 update on continuous eye protection: In alignment with the most current CMOH order 23-2021, and recognizing the positive impact of high vaccine rates at our sites, Carewest staff will no longer be required to wear protective eyewear like face shields or goggles during their normal course of interaction with residents and clients in the workplace.

There are three exceptions to this change, however. Staff will need to continue wearing eye protection:

  1. On the affected unit that has been declared on COVID outbreak.
  2. When caring for a resident or client who is symptomatic* and/or on contact and droplet isolation.
  3. During an outbreak on the unit, in areas or during activities that may bring staff in close contact with unmasked residents (portering, therapy spaces, group activities, etc.).

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).

*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.

Note: Because eye protection is still an effective way of preventing infection, staff may choose to continue wearing eye protection when providing direct care or when within 2 metres of residents, taking into account their vaccination status.

All healthcare workers in continuing care are still required to wear a procedure mask continuously, at all times and in all areas of the workplace when:

  • Direct resident or client care is provided;
  • Entering resident care areas;
  • Working in areas the resident or client can freely access (i.e. office space with an open door)
  • You cannot maintain adequate physical distancing from residents or co-workers (a minimum of two metres or six feet).

Masks are to be worn continuously except for eating and drinking in spaces two metres apart from clients, coworkers or visitors.

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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