The chief medical officer of health is ordering a provincewide ban on visitors to long-term care centres, licensed group homes and other facilities as part of the ongoing work to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect Albertans.
Under an amended public health order, no visitors will be allowed unless a resident is dying or the visitor is essential for delivering care that cannot be delivered by staff.
There have been 1,348 cases of COVID-19 identified in the province as of April 6. This includes 112 confirmed cases and 13 deaths at continuing care facilities.
“Residents of all continuing care sites are at extreme risk if exposed to COVID-19, and we are doing everything possible to ensure their safety. I know this will have a profound impact on the lives of those residents and their families; this is not a step that we take lightly. I’m asking all Albertans to reach out and support their loved ones through the phone, video and any other means possible.”
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health
“This order is an aggressive but necessary step to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of vulnerable Albertans. Our government will support any action needed to protect the lives of residents at continuing care facilities across the province.”
Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health
The new restriction applies to all licensed supportive living, long-term care and other continuing care facilities in the province. It also applies to all residential addiction treatment operators licensed under the Mental Health Services Protection Act.
Family, friends and religious leaders will still be allowed to visit a resident who is dying. In these cases, only one visitor can enter at a time and they cannot interact with any other residents while in the building. Exceptions will also be made if an essential visitor is needed to provide specialized care for a resident.
Any visitor entering these facilities must undergo a health screening prior to stepping inside. This includes a temperature check and a questionnaire. Anyone sick will not be allowed into the building. Those who are well will be required to wear a mask or face covering during the time they are in the building.
This order builds on the restrictions implemented by Alberta Health Services on April 3, ensuring that all facilities in Alberta are following the same strict standards.
All other public health measures remain in place for continuing care facilities. This includes daily screening of staff, enhanced cleaning and other infection prevention control measures, and mandatory outbreak protocols that must be followed for all facilities.