Overview

Government issued public health orders to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, among seniors and vulnerable groups for the following settings:

  • Long-term care facilities
  • Licensed supportive living facilities, including seniors lodges and group homes
  • Licensed residential addiction treatment centres (under the Mental Health Services Protection Act)

Long-term care and licensed supportive living settings

Visitor policy

Visitors may not enter any continuing care facility (long-term care or licensed supportive living), except for visits from a designated essential visitor:

  • when a resident is at the end of their life
  • where the resident's quality of life or care needs cannot be met without the designated essential visitor’s assistance

One designated visitor can be named per resident. They can be a family member, friend or companion, but must be over the age of 18. A replacement can be named, if required.

Outdoor visits

It is important for mental health to spend time outdoors. Outdoor visits are allowed with a designated essential visitor and one other person (up to group of three people, including the resident), where space permits. However, physical distancing must be practiced and all visitors must wear a mask or some other form of face covering.

  • Arrangements for the outdoor visit (including scheduling, frequency, feasibility, etc.) should be made by the designated essential visitor, or the resident, directly with the operator.
  • Visitors are responsible for bringing their own masks for outdoor visits.
  • See Guidance on outdoor visits (Order 14-2020) (April 28, 2020)

Updated operational and outbreak standards

Updated operational and outbreak standards help ensure seniors and other vulnerable individuals living and working in these facilities are kept as physically safe as possible.

Assessment

The list of COVID-19 symptoms has been expanded for residents of these facilities. Residents may experience milder initial symptoms or be unable to report certain symptoms.

Any resident must be isolated and tested if they show any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever (37.8 °C or higher). Note: Thermometer confirmed temperature is not required. If a resident feels they have a fever, testing will be offered.
  • Any new or worsening respiratory symptoms:
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Runny nose
    • Sneezing
    • Nasal congestion or stuffy nose
    • Hoarse voice
    • Sore throat or painful swallowing
    • Difficulty swallowing
  • Any new symptoms, including but not limited to:
    • Chills
    • Muscle or joint ache
    • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or unexplained loss of appetite
    • Feeling unwell, fatigue or severe exhaustion
    • Headache
    • Loss of sense of smell or taste
    • Conjunctivitis
    • Altered mental status

If there is a new confirmed outbreak of COVID-19, all residents and staff in the affected site/unit should be asked to consent to testing for COVID-19.

Expectations of staff and operators

  • Staff must immediately tell their supervisor if they have worked in the last 14 days or are currently working at a site (or elsewhere) where there is a confirmed outbreak.
  • Staff are limited to working within one single designated supportive living or long-term care facility to help prevent the spread of illness between facilities.
  • All staff providing direct resident care must wear a surgical mask continuously, at all times and in all areas of the workplace if they are in direct contact with a resident or cannot maintain adequate physical distancing.
  • Additional PPE is required for those staff providing care to all isolated residents. This includes gowns, facial protection (mask, visor, eye protection) and gloves.
  • Enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection protocols.
  • Continue to support meaningful interactions.

Expectations of residents

  • Residents must remain vigilant in their actions to protect themselves and others.
  • Residents who are not required to isolate are still encouraged (but are not required) to stay on the facility’s property, except in the case of necessity.
  • Should a resident choose go off facility property, for necessity or otherwise, the resident is responsible to:
    • Maintain physical distancing
    • Wear a mask at all times and ask anyone you may be with to also wear a mask
    • Ensure safe transportation
    • Maintain good hand hygiene
    • Be screened upon re-entry
  • Residents, families and friends are also responsible to follow all Public Health guidelines applicable to all Albertans.

Updated operational and outbreak standards

Outbreak reporting

We publicly report locations of outbreaks in these facilities when there are 2 or more people with confirmed COVID-19. Find a list of COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta, updated on Tuesday and Friday each week.

Residential addiction treatment centres

New standards are in place to protect residents at residential addiction treatment facilities from COVID-19 while supporting service provider’s ability to continue to provide services to those accessing treatment.

Measures in place are similar to those in continuing care facilities with special accommodations for group therapy and outdoor visits and to support the shorter residency of clients.

Updated operational and outbreak standards

See Chief Medical Officer of Health Order 27-2020 (July 3, 2020):

Home supports

Call or text 211, or visit ab.211.ca to get help finding resources in your community. 211 is a comprehensive referral system accessible to all Albertans.

Resources

View all public health orders