NEWS, INITIATIVES AND EVENTS
As the vaccine rollout progresses, we all continue to have a critical role in keeping ourselves and others safe from Covid-19, particularly with the spread of the more transmissible Variants of Concern. Cases of Covid-19 are starting to surge again, with more than 10,000 active and confirmed cases in Alberta, including nearly 100 in our region. Tragically 2,000 Albertans have died, most of whom were seniors, but fortunately over the past 5 days there have not been any deaths in continuing care from Covid-19.
We are all very tired of Covid-19, and yet we still have work to do. We all must continue to stay the course for the sake of our vulnerable people and healthcare system. We will beat this virus sooner if we work together and protect each other.
Unfortunately, the emerging variants of concerns are now driving infections, so it is likely more important than ever to exercise good infection prevention and control. Fortunately, every willing and able resident and staff member in Alberta’s Long-Term Care and Designated Supportive Living facilities have been immunized, as have 97% of BVRH’s lodge residents and 80% of our lodge employees! Thank you, Governments of Canada and Alberta, AHS, Pfizer and Moderna for protecting our people. Many of our employees are still waiting for their shots, but we rest much easier knowing that most of our lodge residents have achieved peak immunity.
Alberta remains under new, stricter measures to avoid exponential growth in cases and overwhelming our health system. People over 60 years of age and those with certain pre-existing health conditions are the most at risk of severe outcomes from Covid-19, especially when they live in close proximity as occurs in seniors’ congregate living.
Designated Supportive Living Operations Planning
Senior management had been working on the development of an operating model in collaboration with Alberta Health Services and other relevant professionals in preparation for operations following the construction of Phase 2. Since every party to this planning has been rocked by the COVID pandemic, little progress has been made since, but it has now restarted.
PROGRAM OCCUPANCY RATES
Bow River Lodge 100%
Cascade House 74%
Bow River Homes 100%
Mount Edith House 100%
Community Housing 100%
Rent Supplement 100%
As COVID began to emerge onto the world stage in January 2020 we started to review our pandemic planning and to bring in supplies as a precaution to prepare for the potential emergency, not really thinking that the situation would evolve as dramatically it has. Fortunately, we were well positioned to meet the new reality, which has helped us to fend the virus off to date. We have over a million dollars, hired many new staff, and developed many new ways of doing many things. To date the residents of our lodges and our employees remain COVID-free
and we are still fully engaged in our efforts to keep things that way. Suffice to say COVID-19 has drastically changed most of the ways we conduct our businesses, but we have settled into our new routines and are cautiously optimistic.
As we look ahead, we will remain vigilant and prepared to continue to significantly reduce the threats that COVID presents to our people and operations. While we expect our seniors’ facilities to continue to experience significant restrictions and greatly enhanced infection prevention and control measures for some time to come, we can look forward to the day COVID no longer presents the grave threat that it currently does. We hope that on that day we can celebrate successfully fending the virus off and being far better able to manage the viral threats of the future; we promise we will throw a great big party!
This is Home (Phase 2)
Meanwhile, construction of the long-anticipated designated supportive living facility continues. The picture shown here shows the progress.
Schedule: Clark Builders continues to work with the province and Marshall Tittimore Architects on the design and construction planning of the 60 bed DSL4/D facility. Demolition of the old lodge is complete, having made way for the new building, while leaving the newer southeast wing in place for future use. That building, the southeast wing has been established as a stand-alone building now. Expect substantial completion in Q4 2021, followed by commissioning.
Design: This facility has been designed to meet the needs of designated supportive living level 4 and dementia operations, including enhanced
safety and care-provision considerations. We can expect to have to add enhanced infection prevention and control safeguards as the lessons of COVID take hold.
Economics: The current capital cost is $17.2 million; the Government of Alberta has committed $16.3 million to date. BVRH has agreed to contribute the remaining 5% of the capital budget (up to a maximum of $900,000) to keep the project viable.
• In an emergency, please dial 911.
• For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information for Albertans information on diseases, treatments, staying well, and healthcare services dial 811.
• For 24/7 community program & service information, including affordability programming for the Bow Valley dial 211.
ABOUT BOW VALLEY REGIONAL HOUSING
Bow Valley Regional Housing (BVRH) is a Housing Management Body (HMB) serving the Government of Alberta and the Bow Valley Region. HMB operational funding sources vary. Tenants pay accommodation fees. Those fees are subject to affordability limits, which prevents them from fully covering the costs of operations. Provincial grants and municipal ratepayer requisitions subsidize seniors lodge deficits, while the Province also subsidizes deficits in independent seniors and community housing.
As the HMB for the Bow Valley region, BVRH is responsible for social housing, as well as affordable supportive living accommodation for seniors throughout Kananaskis Country, the
Bow Corridor, the MD of Bighorn and all of Banff National Park, an area covering about 13,500 square kilometres.
All told, we currently house, or help to house approximately 400 residents of the Bow Valley in eight permanent housing projects encompassing 36 separate buildings.