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Alberta

Province provides over $68 Million for extra staff in continuing care, addiction and mental health treatment facilities

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From the Province of Alberta

Increasing protection for vulnerable Albertans

Alberta’s government is providing $68.5 million to protect vulnerable Albertans and staff in continuing care and residential addiction and mental health treatment facilities, as well as home care clients, from COVID-19.

This one-time funding will support operators of non-contracted licensed supportive living and both contracted and non-contracted home care, hospices and residential addiction and mental health treatment centres.

It will help operators pay for increased staffing, additional cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment.

“We must do everything possible to protect vulnerable Albertans and the workers supporting them from COVID-19. Today’s $68.5 million in support for continuing care homes is on top of $260 million that Alberta’s government has already provided to help caregivers support vulnerable seniors throughout the pandemic.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

“I am pleased to announce steps to help protect this sector. We know how important these services are to Albertans who live in these facilities and their families, as well as for those who are cared for at home. Alberta’s government will continue to support services that are essential to the health and well-being of Albertans throughout this pandemic.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

“I have heard loud and clear from the continuing care sector that remaining in compliance with public health orders can be costly. This funding will help operators further protect those most at risk of severe outcomes.”

Richard Gotfried, MLA for Calgary-Fish Creek

“I am pleased that the Government of Alberta has taken this positive step to recognize the actions taken by operators who have stepped up and taken responsibility for the care of older Albertans throughout the pandemic. This funding recognizes the importance of this ongoing work.”

Kim O’Brien, president and CEO, United Active Living Inc.

Funding to support operators providing essential services varies by sector and will be calculated based on the number of spaces in each facility or on an hourly basis for home care:

  • $48 million for non-contracted licensed supportive living
  • $9.9 million for residential addiction and mental health treatment facilities
  • $9.6 million for home care
  • $1 million for residential community hospice

Organizations operating during the period of March 15, 2020 to March 31, 2021 will be eligible.

Alberta’s government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by protecting lives and livelihoods with precise measures to bend the curve, sustain small businesses and protect Alberta’s health-care system.

Quick facts

  • Information on how to apply for funding will be posted on alberta.ca in the coming weeks.
  • Alberta has provided more than $260 million in funding to protect staff and residents in long-term care, designated supportive living facilities and seniors lodges from COVID-19.
  • This includes more than $87.6 million that has been provided to operators to top-up the wages of health-care aides and  health care aide staffing levels and provide paid practicums for students to fast-track them through certification.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Alberta gets court injunction against planned anti-COVID-19 health order protests

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EDMONTON — The Alberta government says it has taken legal action to stop any planned protests of COVID-19 public health orders, including one at a central Alberta cafe that was closed for not following the rules.

On Wednesday, Alberta Health Services closed the Whistle Stop Cafe in the hamlet of Mirror until its owner can demonstrate the ability to comply with health restrictions.

The agency says it had received more than 400 complaints against the business since January.

Alberta Health Services says it has been granted a pre-emptive court injunction against a planned protest by the cafe owner and supporters.

It says it also has received a court order against all other organizers of advertised illegal gatherings and rallies breaching COVID-19 public health orders.

There is an ad promoting a rally this weekend at the cafe in Mirror called “The Save Alberta Campout Protest.”

The ad says the event is a response to “harmful restrictions” imposed by Premier Jason Kenney, Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, and “the United Conservative Party caucus’ ongoing attack on the rights and freedoms of the people of Alberta.”

Alberta Health Services says the court order restrains the cafe owner and others from organizing, promoting and attending the event.

“AHS has taken this step due to the ongoing risk to Albertans created by those breaching COVID-19 public health restrictions and advertising social gatherings which, if held, breach current and active CMOH Orders and pose a risk to public health,” the agency said in a release Thursday.

“AHS strongly condemns the intentional disobeying of COVID-19 public health restrictions,”

The agency says with COVID-19 cases increasing in the province, including the more easily transmitted and potentially more severe variants, there is urgent need to minimize spread to protect all Albertans.

Last weekend, hundreds of people gathered near Bowden, also in central Alberta, for a pre-advertised maskless “No More Lockdowns” protest rodeo.

Days later, the premier announced stronger restrictions and doubled fines for scofflaws

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta's top doctor says 'very likely' COVID-19 vaccine interval to be shortened

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s top doctor says it’s very likely that second doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be offered within less than four months of the first as supplies ramp up. 

The province authorized a 16-week interval in order to get as many people protected with their first shots as possible while vaccine shipments remained uncertain. For Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the drug makers say the gaps between doses should be three weeks and one month, respectively. 

“I want to be clear that that four-month interval was always a maximum,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday. 

“We were never planning to require a wait of four months. It was really about we would not have anyone go beyond four months, but if we can offer it sooner, we will.”

People on immunosuppressive drugs, like chemotherapy, are already being offered their second shots in a shortened time frame, Hinshaw said. 

She noted that for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, there is evidence that a 12-week wait between doses is more effective than a shorter interval. 

As of Monday, all Albertans born in 2009 and earlier will be able to book their first shot.

On Thursday, some 100,000 people born in 1991 and earlier booked their first vaccine appointments. After that, the province will be able to start offering followup doses, Hinshaw said. 

So far, 1.73 million doses of vaccine have been given in Alberta.

Alberta recorded 2,211 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths on Thursday. There were 654 people in hospital, including 146 in intensive care.

More than 11 per cent of tests came back positive.

 Hinshaw also reiterated that the province is no longer testing every positive COVID-19 swab for variants. Instead, labs are testing a representative sample. 

“This frees up crucial lab capacity to ensure that people get their COVID-19 test results back as soon as possible, which is the most important thing we can do with our lab capacity to minimize further transmission.” 

She added that anyone with a positive test should assume they have contracted a variant, as variants are now dominant in the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. 

— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary.

The Canadian Press

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