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Vaccinations give residents more freedom

June 23rd, 2021

While changing provincial regulations don’t exactly fling open the doors of designated supportive living homes, fully vaccinated residents and employees are experiencing a freedom they haven’t seen in over a year. This is positive news for residents of Points West Living communities, where the COVID-19 vaccination rate has been particularly high.

Double vaccine = no quarantine

The June 14th order from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health (Order 32-2021) outlines quarantine requirements for residents exposed to confirmed cases of COVID-19. Residents who are fully vaccinated and show no symptoms (are asymptomatic) will not need to quarantine at all.

Unless there is an active COVID situation, limits within designated supportive living (DSL) homes have eased somewhat as well. There are no limits on how many residents share a table for meals, although the tables still need to be appropriately distanced.

Visiting safety measures

If the majority of residents of a DSL community have voted in favour of allowing indoor visits (as outlined in late April in the CMOH Order 16-2021), they are allowed within the meeting numbers and location determined by the general manager to ensure for the required 2-metres of physical distancing. Outdoor visits can have up to ten people (space permitting), and physical distancing of 2-metres must be maintained.

All visits, including those by designated support persons, still need to be scheduled in advance, and visitors will be screened for COVID exposure and symptoms upon arrival. Each visitor will be expected to take steps to protect residents, including practising hand-hygiene, physical distancing, and wearing a face mask indoors.

Playing it safe within supportive living communities

While the province of Alberta is set to lift all COVID restrictions for the public on July 1st allowing indoor social gatherings and not requiring face masks, within DSL homes the relaxing of restrictions is gradual and contingent on a continuing drop in COVID-19 cases.

Vaccinations and vigilance

“We need to combat vaccine hesitancy,” says Aidan Monaghan, COVID Communications Coordinator with Connecting Care, “and encourage people who are not vaccinated to get vaccinated, and people who have had one dose to follow through with their second dose so that more Albertans are immunized and more Albertans will be safe from COVID and any variants of concern. If vaccinations stall, it opens the door to highly contagious variants such as Delta to sweep through the province much like it has in Britain and in India.”

Photo: Photo: PWL Stettler resident Dale Chapman received his first dose of the Moderna vaccine on January 8, with the second dose four weeks later.

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