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Alberta

Province will begin to ease restrictions at long term care homes

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Relaxing restrictions on continuing care visits

High rates of vaccination among residents and staff at continuing care facilities means families will soon be able to more easily visit their loved ones.

 

Starting May 10, updated public health measures will come into effect for continuing care facilities in Alberta. These protocols will increase the number of designated family/support persons for each resident, expand the number of people who can attend outdoor social visits and allow limited indoor social gatherings.

Active cases in long-term care have declined from the peak of 831 on Dec. 27 to 44 as of April 24. Hospitalizations have decreased by 93 per cent and fatalities due to COVID-19 have declined by 94 per cent.

“Long-term care residents need joy, hope, and connection just like everyone else. They have shouldered the burden of this pandemic and sacrificed important time with their loved ones and I’m glad that we are able to ease these restrictions, but we will continue to move cautiously, as evidence is still emerging on vaccines and their ability to both protect residents from variants and limit transmitting the virus to others.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

“We know the ability to connect in-person with loved ones is important. Alberta was one of the few provinces that still allowed visitors in continuing care facilities even during the most difficult points throughout the pandemic, because we understand how important seeing loved ones is. We continue to work to strike a balance between protecting residents from infection and sustaining their overall health and well-being.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

“We have worked closely with family, residents and operators on the best way to move forward with changes. Based on the feedback of those most impacted, the available data and the power of vaccines, we are striking the right balance between protecting residents and staff from COVID-19 and enabling their quality of life.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health

In April, town halls were held with continuing care operators, residents and staff to discuss the impact of vaccinations and concerns over COVID-19 variants. The majority of participants indicated that they were ready for eased restrictions but wanted some safety measures to remain.

Starting May 10, the following changes to visitation policy will take effect:

  • Where possible, and provided the majority of residents agree, indoor social visits with up to four visitors will be able to resume again, as long as they are from the same household and distancing, masking and other health measures remain in place.
  • Outdoor social visits in these facilities can expand to up to 10 people, including the resident. This is double the current limit of five and brings the limit in line with the current outdoor limit for the rest of the province.
  • Residents may name up to four designated family/support persons for unrestricted access, and visitors will continue to be able to visit when residents are approaching the end of their lives or suffer a change in health status.

These changes are not mandatory and will vary by site based on the design of the building, wishes of residents and other factors.

Each site must develop their own visiting approach that falls within the guidelines set out in the order and reflects the risk tolerance of the residents who live at that site.

All other COVID-19 measures remain in place, including:

  • Mandatory order restricting staff from working at more than one designated supportive living or long-term care facility to help prevent the spread of illness between facilities.
  • Symptom and exposure checks for all who are entering a continuing care facility.
  • Continuous masking and distancing during indoor visits.

As Alberta’s vaccination program expands and community transmission lowers, consideration will be given to easing additional restrictions.

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.

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

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Alberta

Alberta confirms two patient deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant at Calgary hospital

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EDMONTON — A health official says two patients at Calgary’s Foothills hospital have died from the Delta variant of COVID-19 — and one had been fully immunized.

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the two patients, a man and a woman, were in their 80s, had significant co-morbidities and likely acquired the virus in the hospital.

One patient had received two doses of an mRNA vaccine, while the other had not been immunized.

They were among 23 hospital patients and staff who became infected with the Delta variant, one of the variants first identified in India.

Health experts have stressed that it is still possible to contract COVID-19 even with full immunization, but that the chances of severe outcomes drop significantly with vaccination.

The Delta variant is being watched carefully in Alberta, given it is now the dominant strain in the United Kingdom and, with its rapid transmission, is threatening plans there to reopen the economy and lift health restrictions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 17, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Head coach Dave Dickenson rounds out his Calgary Stampeders staff for upcoming season

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CALGARY — Head coach Dave Dickenson rounded out his Calgary Stampeders staff for the 2021 season Thursday. 

Bob Slowik joins the Stampeders as a defensive assistant while T.J. Vernieri has been added as offensive assistant. Slowik served as the Montreal Alouettes’ defensive co-ordinator in 2019 while Vernieri spent two years as a receivers coach at Lycoming College, a Division III school in Williamsport, Pa.

Prior to coming north, Slowik spent over 20 years coaching in the NFL, including a combined 10 seasons as a defensive co-ordinator with the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos.

The remainder of Calgary’s coaching staff consists of: special-teams co-ordinator/assistant head coach Mark Kilam; offensive co-ordinator/offensive line coach Pat DelMonaco; defensive co-ordinator Brent Monson; quarterbacks/running backs Marc Mueller; defensive backs coach/CFL draft co-ordinator Dwayne Cameron; defensive line coach Corey Mace; and receivers coach Marquay McDaniel.

“I am very excited to add Bob and T.J. to our coaching staff, they’re certainly a study in contrasts,” Dickenson said in a statement. “T.J. is an eager young coach just getting his feet wet in professional football and Bob certainly has a wealth of knowledge after more than three decades of coaching in the pros and college.

“This is a terrific opportunity to bring new ideas and voices into our coaching group and I know they will both be great additions to the team.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 17, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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