Seniors and senior communities are particularly vulnerable populations facing COVID-19, and, as such, these communities have undergone some significant changes in how they operate. Alberta Health Minister, Tyler Shandro, said more than 70 percent of COVID-related deaths in Alberta had been in senior care homes.
Here are some current and primary ways that senior communities are responding to COVID-19 in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.
- Residents are allowed one “Essential Visitor” to support care needs although some screening measures may be in place before allowing the visitor to go inside.
- Outdoor visits may be arranged as long as the resident is not in isolation.
- In end-of-life situations, one person is allowed to visit.
- Alberta Health Services has published a visitor guidelines document that is freely available for download.
- COVID-19 testing is readily available to all Albertans.
- On April 2, Bonnie Henry, the BC Provincial Health Officer, made mandatory orders that staff may not work at more than one senior care home location.
- British Columbia is now in Phase 2 of their COVID-19 response plan. Many senior care communities are starting to ask for relaxation of the visiting rules, which are currently similar to the ones in Alberta.
- Residents are allowed to go out to appointments if the appointments are absolutely necessary.
- The US border remains closed to non-essential travel.
As the pandemic continues, both Alberta and British Columbia have made great strides in containing the spread of the virus, especially among seniors. In BC, there are currently, at the time of this writing, 2790 active cases and 11 persons in hospital. In Alberta, there are currently 534 active cases and 33 persons in hospital.
The population of Alberta is approximately 4.3 million compared to a little over 5 million in BC. In contrast, Florida has a population of about 21 and a half million and has about 80,000 active cases.
H&H Total Care Services is committed to doing the very best that we can to protect our residents from COVID-19 as much as we are able.
H&H Total Care Services is a privately held company based in Surrey, BC, that is a leader in providing senior and young adult residential care services. With communities in both British Columbia and Alberta, H&H Total Care Services offers a wide range of compassionate care services from independent living to residential complex care.
If you have any questions about this article or would like to talk to us about our range of care services, please feel free to contact us.