Families asked to avoid visiting as COVID cases surge
November 25th, 2020
Updated, November 25, 2020
Limit in-person contact
The more visitors we have entering our communities, the higher the risk of COVID-19 exposure. To help limit the number of people entering our communities, Points West Living and Connecting Care are asking designated family and support persons to re-evaluate their loved one's need for them to be physically present. If the answer is less than 'absolutely essential', then please consider virtual options to connecting, and postpone in-person contact until the current COVID situation settles down.
(November 12, 2020 original article...)
As COVID-19 cases surge in Alberta and around the world, it is clear we have entered what some are calling the second wave of the pandemic. In an effort to continue to protect residents, Points West Living is calling on prospective visitors to our communities to redouble their compliance to visiting protocols and to personal infection control. If they live in or visit an area with a high incidence of COVID, they’re asked to forego visiting at this time.
Vigilance is working
As of November 12, 2020, no residents have tested positive for COVID-19 within any Points West Living communities or other sites managed by Connecting Care.
Director of Health Services, Elithea de Villiers attibutes that in part to the diligence of employee care partners. “We have an amazing team,” she says. “The precaution measurements for staff contracting COVID are as good as they can be. The saving grace is that all employee care partners have to do a self-assessment before they leave home for work. If they have the slightest doubt, we’d rather they stay home, call 811 and get a COVID test. We encourage them to lean towards more caution that might seem absolutely necessary.” She expects no less vigilance from visitor care partners.
Assessing the risk
Every week, each PWL (and Connecting Care) community conducts a thorough risk tolerance assessment, and the result will impact visiting to specific communities. All visits must be prearranged with the general manager (or designate), and potential visitors are asked to ensure that at all times, they practice proper hand hygiene, masking, physical distancing (2-metres), and symptom screening.
People at high risk of unknown exposure to COVID-19 are advised to have no physical contact with the person they are supporting unless providing direct care to the resident and are wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (mask, face shield, gown, and gloves, as advised).
No symptions ≠ no risk
Elithea says her biggest concern is around asymptomatic carriers – individuals who have contracted COVID-19 but don’t get sick so don’t know they are contagious. “We all have to go on living lives,” she says, “getting groceries, filling the car with gas. People are still doing all of this, and I’m worried people are not sufficiently diligent with sanitization processes.”
“We know that once COVID is in a supportive living or lodge environment, people are going to die,” she adds. “I’m so thankful for our care partners being so vigilant in what they do. That is why we have been able to keep our residents safe; people following precautions even before they enter the door.”
Photo: Elithea de Villiers, PWL and Connecting Care Director of Health Services (courtesy photo attribution: Masks image by Mohamed Ali from Pixabay)
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