Overview

Public health orders are in effect to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, among seniors and at-risk groups for the following settings:

  • Hospice 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)

Licensed supportive living, long-term care and hospice settings

Visiting policy

Operators must develop a safe visiting policy and process for their site that follows public health order guidelines, in collaboration with residents and families.

Effective May 10, some visiting restrictions may be eased:

  • Each resident or alternate decision maker may identify up to 4 designated family/support persons who are essential to maintaining resident mental and physical health.
  • Multiple residents may continue to have the same designated family/support persons.
  • Outdoor social visits may include up to 10 people, including the resident, where space permits.
  • Where possible, indoor social visits with up to 4 visitors may resume.
    • The majority of residents must agree to these changes.
    • Visitors must be from the same household.
    • Physical distancing, masking and other safety measures must be followed.
    • Designated family/support persons are not required to be present for indoor or outdoor visits from others.
  • Visitors will continue to be able to visit when residents are approaching the end of their lives or suffer a change in health status.

The extent of these change may vary by site based on the design of the building, wishes of residents and other factors.

Any visitor with symptoms of COVID-19 or known recent exposure to COVID-19 will not be permitted entry. All visitors should understand their risk of unknown exposure tvo COVID-19 and take steps to protect residents and staff including consistent hand hygiene practices, physical distancing and wearing a mask indoors, and follow all related facility rules.

Operational and outbreak standards

Operational and outbreak standards help ensure seniors and other at-risk individuals living and working in these facilities are kept as physically safe as possible. These standards are updated as we learn more about COVID-19 and as vaccination uptake increases.

Assessment

The list of COVID-19 symptoms is 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 offered testing 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

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.
  • Enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection protocols.
  • Continue to support meaningful interactions.
  • Staff and management are responsible to follow all Public Health guidelines applicable to all Albertans.

Expectations of residents

  • It’s recognized that residents may want to leave the facility property to use community services.
  • Residents must remain vigilant in their actions to protect themselves and others.
  • Should a resident choose go off facility property the resident is responsible to:
    • Maintain physical distancing of 2 metres
    • Wear a mask at all times
    • Maintain good hand hygiene
    • Be screened upon re-entry
    • Be aware of any risk of exposure to COVID-19
    • Understand any precautions that may be required upon their return (self-checks and masking when outside of their room)
  • Residents, families and friends are also responsible to follow all Public Health guidelines applicable to all Albertans.

Vaccination status to determine precautions

Vaccinations in licensed supportive living, long-term care and hospice settings have considerably reduced negative outcomes of COVID-19 for residents in these settings.

  • Residents moving in to facilities and returning from outings will no longer be required to quarantine for 14 days.
  • Additional precautions for outings will be based on the vaccination status of the resident. It is important to note that disclosure of vaccination status is voluntary.
    • Fully Vaccinated (received all recommended vaccine doses): No safety precautions
    • Not Vaccinated or Partially Vaccinated (only one of two doses received): Twice daily symptoms self-check for 14 days
    • Should a resident transfer from or visit a health care facility on outbreak, there may be a need to quarantine.
  • This approach recognizes the benefits of vaccination on reducing the risk of introduction and transmission of COVID-19 in these settings.

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 07-2021 (April 27, 2021):

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

Questions & answers: Operational and outbreak standards (CMOH Order 32-2021)

Communications from the Chief Medical Officer of Health: