Protecting at-risk Albertans from COVID-19
Government-issued public health orders 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
Expectations for visiting have changed. These changes will ensure we continue to protect at-risk Albertans while helping them remain socially and emotionally connected.
The changes include the expectation that operators develop a safe visiting policy and process in collaboration with residents and families. Other changes include:
- Each resident or alternate decision maker may identify up to 2 designated family/support persons who are essential to maintaining resident mental and physical health.
- Multiple residents may have the same designated family/support persons.
- Non-designated family/support persons may be allowed to visit.
- This will be determined by resident health and circumstance and the risk tolerance assessment of the site.
- Designated family/support persons are not required to be present for visits from others.
Any visiting person with symptoms of COVID-19 or known recent exposure to COVID-19 will not be permitted entry. All visiting persons should know their risk of unknown exposure to COVID-19 and take steps to protect residents and staff including consistent hand hygiene practices, physical distancing and wearing a mask indoors.
- Guidance on visiting policy (Order 29-2020) (July 16, 2020)
- Fact sheets:
- Residents (PDF, 217 KB)
- Family Supports/Visiting (PDF, 366 KB)
- Video: Safe Access to Congregate Living Residents
Operational and outbreak standards for licensed supportive living and long-term care
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.
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:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion or stuffy nose
- Hoarse voice
- Sore throat or painful swallowing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Any new symptoms, including but not limited to:
- Muscle or joint ache
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or unexplained loss of appetite
- Feeling unwell, fatigue or severe exhaustion
- Loss of sense of smell or taste
- 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
- Updated operational and outbreak standards for licensed supportive living and long-term care (Order 23-2020) – May 25, 2020
- Questions and answers: operational and outbreak standards for licensed supportive living and long-term care (PDF, 443 KB) (updated July 16, 2020)
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):
- Appendix A: Updated operational and outbreak standards for residential addiction treatment service providers
- Appendix B: Health Screening Questionnaires
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.
View all public health orders