Coronavirus Canada Updates: Alberta eases COVID-19 restrictions at long-term care facilities

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Coronavirus Canada Updates: Region reports 86 new COVID cases Sunday
Coronavirus Canada Updates: Region reports 86 new COVID cases Sunday

Alberta is easing COVID-19 restrictions at long-term and other continuing care congregate living settings.

Starting May 10, the visiting policy at licensed supportive living, long-term care and hospice settings will increase to allow up to four designated family and support people who can visit. Previously, only two were allowed.

Where possible, indoor social visits with up to four visitors may resume, but visitors must be from the same household.

In addition, outdoor social visits will be allowed with up to 10 people, including the resident.

Laura Tambly-Watts, the CEO of Can Age, said the easing of these restrictions comes as a relief to a lot of residents at these facilities who have been extremely isolated recently.

“What’s important for them is to see family, to have a hug, to see a smile — many of them have not seen a smile because faces have been hidden behind masks for over a year,” Tambly-Watts said.

“It doesn’t mean that we need to be silly about it. It’s going to be important to make sure that we use proper personal protective equipment, that we’re appropriate (and) social distancing (is) being engaged in some cases — but if there are no outbreaks and people are vaccinated they have the right to live again.”

When announcing the changes on April 26, Kenney called them a “safe and prudent step forward.”

“We’re not getting rid of all of the restrictions at continuing care facilities,” Kenney added. “There will continue to be limits on who can visit and how many (people) — and strong outbreak protocols will remain in place.”

Alberta Health Services says the changes aren’t mandatory and may vary by site based on the design of the building, wishes of residents and other factors.

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