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COVID-19 Update Dec 21, 2021: Alberta

December 21, 2021

COVID-19-Blog

Hello everyone,

Recently, Dr. Deena Hinshaw posted the article “Celebrating Safely this Holiday Season: Tips for Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones”  to the Alberta Health website.  You can access that article here.

Here is a summary of Dr. Hinshaw’s key points for private gatherings:

  • It is critical that if you feel even a little unwell, you stay home and get tested.
    • Monitor yourself and any underage children for symptoms. No matter how mild symptoms may be, seek COVID-19 testing as soon as possible.
    • If you’re hosting an event, you need to cancel it and isolate yourself from others.
  • Limit the number of in-person contacts you have.
    • While you can gather in groups of up to 10 adults, it’s a good idea to keep gatherings as small as possible and limit the number of get-togethers you host and attend.
    • If you plan to attend multiple gatherings, leave as many days between them as possible.
  • Talk to guests about options for gathering to ensure everyone is comfortable.
    • Encourage guests to receive all vaccine doses available to them and request they wear masks when not eating or drinking. Masks should be well-fitting and high-quality to have the greatest benefit.
    • Whenever possible, have a virtual option to keep in-person attendance low.
    • Consider outdoor gathering options.
    • Increase ventilation indoors whenever possible.
  • As an additional tool, consider using a rapid test for regular screening in the days before you head out to a gathering.
    • If you’ve picked up a free rapid testing kit and have no symptoms, you can test yourself daily for a few days before the event as an additional prevention measure to help identify infections early.
    • This should only be considered in addition to all other health precautions, not as a replacement for public health measures. A single negative test does not guarantee that a person is COVID-free.
    • If you have symptoms, you must complete the online assessment and get tested at an Alberta Health Services Assessment Centre.

While these suggestions are related to gatherings outside of congregate care settings such as Seasons, these tips are helpful for residents considering leaving the building and for families and staff who may be hosting holiday events.

Daily case counts of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant are rising.  While you as an individual have the right to self-assess for risk, Seasons must consider the greater threat to our retirement communities, including staff and residents.   We need everyone to help us keep COVID-19 out of our homes so that all who live and work with us remain healthy as we enter 2022.

We are going to start asking about vaccination status on our screening tool.  Please do not visit a Seasons resident if you have even mild symptoms.  We have seen an increase in the asymptomatic spread after visits.  As a result, we strongly recommend using a rapid test to ensure a negative result before entering a Seasons Retirement Community.

We also ask that you please schedule your visit in advance to safely manage the number of people we have in our homes while ensuring all residents have equitable access to visitors.

All visitors must practice continuous masking when in a Seasons Community.  This means a mask must cover your nose and mouth for the duration of your visit at Seasons, and it means no eating or drinking while visiting.  In the last week, I have been alarmed by the number of Seasons homes exposed to COVID-19 by a visitor who admitted to not wearing a mask and subsequently tested positive.  This action is reckless, contrary to Seasons policy and government directive and puts our residents and staff at significant risk.

Thank you all for your ongoing patience and cooperation.   In the words of Dr. HInshaw, “Be safe, be kind, and follow public health guidance, so we can all minimize the spread of COVID-19 while we celebrate the holidays and as we head into 2022.”

Sincerely,

LeighAnne Voll
Chief Operating Officer,
Seasons Retirement Communities

For additional online resources for COVID-19 you can visit the following sites:

Canada Health
Alberta Health
Alberta Health Services
Public Health Ontario
Retirement Home Regulatory Authority

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