From Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health
With regard to a resurgence of cases in Alberta over the weekend: “We are seeing recent pockets of spread, suggesting that people think that they can relax precautions as a result of the slowdown in cases…I think that’s why we need to always be reminding people that this is not over, that the low numbers are a result of the work we’ve done together, that COVID has NOT gone away.”
The province’s relaunch plans will be successful only if people continue to work together to make sure those numbers stay low…people may be tempted to believe they no longer need to take precautions. Unfortunately, this is NOT the case. It is CRITICAL that all of us continue to take steps to protect our community.”
There are three new, confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Canmore; we do not know who or where they are. If a BVRH lodge resident or employee is diagnosed with Covid-19, we will let everyone know how we are managing it, and every one of us would be tested quickly to limit the spread.
Alberta reported 5 more deaths from COVID over the past 72 hours. Three of the most recent deaths were a woman in her 70’s, a man in his 80’s and another man in his 90’s, all residents of seniors housing in Calgary.
There are now 356 active cases of COVID in Alberta. So far more than 150 Albertans have died, with an average age of 83 years.
Some of the new cases over the weekend are related to several social events where transmission happened over the past couple of weeks. One event has had 10 cases result, another has had 8 and it has spread out from there to expose others in the province.
Despite the tentative ongoing reopening measures that are underway, the virus is still out there and remains as dangerous to seniors as it has been since the start. All seniors’ homes should expect to be under significant restrictions for many more months as a result of the public health measures that have changed our lives. It is up to all of us to keep ourselves and each other protected, especially now as things slowly reopen without knowing how or where the virus might strike next.
NEW CHANGES TO OUR COVID PRECAUTIONS (per Alberta Health):
Appropriate outings can now be taken by residents. This expands the list from essential medical and other official trips out, to a few more trips if necessary (details to follow). Please note that you are still responsible for only taking necessary trips out, and to protect yourself and your fellow lodge residents by minimizing your potential exposure to COVID in the community. Those who do go out are still subject to rules like wearing a mask and other safeguards. Trips out should be minimal, and should be undertaken with due care and caution.
Residents who leave the lodge site must wear a mask, which we will provide, while out. They must arrange for safe transportation, remain 6 feet from others, and must not hug or shake hands, etc. They must also use good hand hygiene (we’ll also provide hand sanitizer) and stay away from crowds, busy places and sick people.
Upon return to the lodge, residents will be screened, including a temperature check, and will be required to sanitize their hands.
Trips of necessity include things that cannot be achieved in the lodge:
Medical and health related procedures.
Legal and regulatory activities, including drivers license renewals.
A walk around the block.
Milestone social occasions, while being very careful and staying away from crowds and sick people.
Trips out for essential supplies that cannot be delivered.
Please note that visitors are still not permitted into the lodge, but residents may have a quick visit and chat with non-symptomatic people outside of the entryway as long as they wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart and sanitize their hands well when they come back in. Longer, sit-down visits are still available by the fenced areas.
EVERYONE must take this situation very seriously, and take every precaution to protect their health and that of all of your fellow residents.
Necessary precautions we all must take include:
Only going out for necessary reasons – be responsible for everyone’s sake.
Wearing a mask while out – ask the person you are with to do the same.
Arranging safe transportation.
Not touching others while out – stay 6 feet apart.
Not going out with people who have respiratory symptoms.
Staying away from crowds and busy places.
Only going where necessary – no side trips no matter how tempting.
Getting screened when returning to the lodge.
Sanitizing your hands very well once back inside the lodge.
REMAIN VIGILANT – it is quite literally a matter of life and death.
Please continue to understand that every action we take over the coming months must be carefully considered and managed to continue to keep catastrophe at bay. You, our seniors are the most vulnerable to this crisis; older Canadians living in seniors’ housing account for the vast majority of the nearly 8,000 tragic deaths this country has experienced in the past three months. I personally don’t believe that those of us who work and live in seniors housing will be able to go back to normal until a vaccine has been widely distributed.
Please keep in mind that BVRH and AHS recognize that you, our seniors, require the strongest safeguards to protect you from the virus. As the rest of Alberta slowly relaxes the public health measures, I expect that those which safeguard you will be the slowest to change. We will closely monitor and consider how the rest of society fares before making major changes. Your continued patience and cooperation is required for us all to stay healthy, both physically and emotionally, together.
I’ll echo Dr. Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health again: I want to stress that the fight against this virus is far from over. Alberta’s relaunch strategy is the next phase in our collective efforts to protect each other. We must continue to work together to manage risk, use common sense and remain vigilant to contain this virus. Each stage of our relaunch will be advanced after careful consideration.
SAFETY RULES ARE STILL IN EFFECT, INCLUDING:
Residents may leave the lodge for necessary reasons. Please continue to arrange for the delivery of things you need. Use the designated outdoor spaces for fresh air and exercise when the weather allows it. Please note that anyone who stays out overnight (in the hospital for example) will then have to remain isolated in their rooms for 14 days under observation upon their return.
Exercise physical distancing at all times. Even in the lodge, you must stay at least 6 feet or 2 meters apart when interacting with others – it will help save lives and bring a quicker end to this difficult situation. One person in the elevator at a time. Please, though, do connect with others, whether in the lodge or by phone, outdoor visits, etc.
Only one person can be in the resident laundry rooms and elevators at any one time.
If you feel even slightly unwell, please call our administration team to let us know and then stay in your suite. We will serve you there. This is a legal requirement.
REMEMBER to wash your hands before you leave your suite and after you return to it, and to sanitize your hands well before entering and leaving the dining room.
All lodge residents, employees and essential workers are being screened for Covid-19 on a daily basis. No one, not even essential workers are allowed to enter the lodge if the screening turns anything up.
INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE TO ALL RESIDENTS:
Staff members and Home Care workers are wearing masks that keep us from sharing our germs with you. We aren’t sick; we are being very careful for your sake.
We are now able to bring hair dressers into the lodges!!
We are working on some local, scenic bus trips to get people out of the lodges.
We are here trying to help you with meals, cleaning and disinfection. I know this is hard for all of us to one degree or another. Please treat everyone accordingly; be your best; exercise more patience, kindness and cooperation. Failure to do so will jeopardize your residency with BVRH. Thank you to the majority of lodge residents who have been kind, patient, thankful and cooperative; people like you make a huge difference for all of us!
Our early and ongoing preparations and efforts have continued to pay off so far; we have successfully held what would have been an absolute tragedy at bay. Let’s keep up the hard but amazing work to keep our facilities virus-free – we need your help, please think about this when you are thinking about leaving the lodge!