COVID-19 Family & Visitor Bulletin: Useful Information
Posted on March 12, 2020 in COVID-19 Updates
What is a coronavirus and what is the current situation?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases.
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus outbreak that began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Multiple countries and regions around the world affected by COVID-19 are now in a state of emergency, and the World Heath Organization has declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic.
There are increasing cases of COVID-19 across Canada including Alberta. The risk to Albertans is still considered low. However, seniors and those with chronic health conditions are at greater risk of serious illness from exposure to COVID-19.
What are we doing at BSF?
The Foundation is paying close attention to information from the Ministry of Health, Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services, and other government and health authorities.
Due to the increased risk factors for our residents, BSF is taking extra Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures within our sites that are considered over and above the current guidelines for the general public in Alberta at this time.
- Implementing screening measures and entry restrictions for any visitors and employees entering our sites including restricted access for people returning from travel and/or displaying symptoms of illness
- Encouraging only essential visitors into our sites, and strongly advising against all non-essential resident outings from our Manors, to reduce exposure to illness in the community
- Reducing large gatherings of people at meetings/events, and reducing the movement of residents, visitors and employees across neighbourhoods and in common areas, to minimize unnecessary contact with other residents and people within our sites
- Modifying our recreation activities and events within our sites, including cancelling all recreation outings, programs with kids, pets, and large group events, to minimize the risk of exposure to illness while still ensuring meaningful activities to engage residents and enrich lives
- Increasing our staffing to support enhanced screening of visitors, enhanced cleaning, enhanced education on hand-hygiene, and other important infection prevention and control measures
- Reviewing our internal Pandemic Response Plan, ensuring our supplies are well-stocked and appropriate plans are in place in preparation for the potential threat of an outbreak
If you have any questions about the situation at BSF, please contact your primary point of contact or the Administrator at your Manor.
Basic things everyone can do to help prevent the spread of viruses and infections
To protect yourself and others:
- Use good hand hygiene practices such as frequent handwashing and use of hand sanitizers
- Cover coughs and sneezes (cough/sneeze into your inner elbow not your hands)
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill
What can families and visitors do to visit safely inside our Manors?
- All non-essential visitors are strongly discouraged from entering our Manors
- Do NOT visit if you are unwell – anyone who is sick with cold-like symptoms, fever, or cough should not visit loved ones in hospitals or seniors care (BSF is screening for illness and fever at entry to our sites)
- Do NOT visit if you have travelled anywhere outside of ALBERTA in the past 14 days – (BSF is screening for travel at entry to our sites)
- Do NOT visit if you have entered another healthcare or seniors care site in the past 24 hours – (BSF is screening at entry to our sites)
- Do NOT visit with children or pets or in large groups of people – children are more prone to carrying and spreading viruses, pets are not permitted on-site at this time, and we strongly encourage you limit the amount of people coming into our Manors at this time
- Limit your visits to inside of resident rooms – go directly to the resident room, and avoid wandering throughout the site or visiting in common areas
- Minimize physical contact and interactions with residents and people inside our Manors – avoid shaking or holding hands, hugging and kissing and practice keeping a distance from others as reasonable
- Don’t share food or drinks and practice good food hygiene – don’t touch food with unwashed hands, don’t share personal utensils, clean/sanitize shared serving utensils, and avoid coughing or sneezing in food preparation or dining areas
- Do NOT bring any food into our Manors
- If you are using any amenities or equipment, thoroughly wash your hands and sanitize any equipment/appliances you touch with the sanitizing wipes provided before and after touching equipment
What can families and visitors do to keep healthy in the community?
- Always practice good hand hygiene – especially when entering/exiting locations and handling food, money or high touch items (frequently sanitize your phone, keys, wallet and items that you handle often)
- Use your judgement to practice ‘social distancing’ – when possible avoid going to unnecessary places or events such as conferences or stadiums where there are large gatherings of people present
If you are concerned about your recent travel, potential exposure to others with viruses or infection, or you are concerned about your health contact Health Link 811 for advice.
For the latest COVID-19 information relevant to Albertans, visit: www.alberta.ca/coronavirus or www.ahs.ca/covid.
President and CEO