Over the past few weeks, it’s become clear that the world is facing an unprecedented challenge. Like you, we are deeply concerned and want to do what we can to help keep our clients, families, staff and communities safe and healthy. During this complicated time, we appreciate your patience and understanding as we do everything we can prepare for and respond to COVID-19. Click here to see the most up-to-date numbers of cases of COVID-19 in Canada. The risk to Albertans is still considered low.
Currently, no clients or staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at Carewest.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Visits from family and friends are an important part of the lives of our continuing care residents. At the same time, COVID-19 has been demonstrated to be an extreme risk to older adults and those with heart or lung disease, or multiple chronic conditions. COVID-19 has been shown to lead to much more severe illness and higher rate of complications among these groups. Prevention of infection is the most important step we can take in protecting one of our most vulnerable populations – those living in our continuing care facilities. While fully appreciating the need to find the balance between visitor restriction and ensuring continued quality of life for residents and clients, visitor restriction is one of the most important tools we have available to us.
As you are likely aware, Alberta is moving forward with more aggressive measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. We recognize the need to balance safety with the quality of life for our residents, clients and their family members but we also recognize that we are working and living during an unprecedented and unpredictable worldwide pandemic. As we look to the examples set in Washington and Vancouver of long-term care centres who were ahead of us in this outbreak, we realize inaction will pose a great risk to those we are trying so hard to protect. To that end, we are asking our residents, clients and families support us in our very hard decision to restrict visitors into our care centres.
Effective immediately, the following programs will be closed: All Carewest Adult Day Programs (including YADS), Day Hospital and Comprehensive Community Care (C3). The C3 Clinic will remain open for urgent client assessment and treatment. Seating Clinic will restrict visits to essential appointments only.
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. Please help us in preventing the spread of COVID-19 at our care centres by postponing your visit if:
- If you were traveling on or after March 13, 2020 and haven’t self-isolated for the 14-day period.
- If you are feeling unwell.
- If you have been in close contact (within one metre) with someone who has been traveling and feeling unwell.
Social 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.
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.
From the onset of this situation, we have been listening to the appropriate sources for accurate and up-to-date information, and our preparedness plan reflects those inputs. As things evolve, we are actively monitoring and assessing risks, with a readiness to implement changes to ensure the highest level of safety. We will strive to continue to communicate with our staff, clients, families and the community in a timely and transparent way. Carewest is doing everything it can to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria within the organization. You may have noticed some changes at our care centres, whether you are working here, living here, attending a day program or visiting loved ones. Here is what we are currently doing in that regard.
We will endeavour to keep you informed as we receive more information. Check back regularly, as this page will be updated often.