Dear Optima Living Residents, Employees, and Stakeholders,
This pandemic is all but beat! We still have some work to do, but it’s refreshing to be transitioning to endemic—rather than pandemic—status. The majority of Alberta’s restrictions are now dropped, and B.C.’s situation is similarly optimistic, with public mask mandates soon coming to an end.
You may rest assured that regardless of status, each team at each Optima Living community will continue to do their utmost to protect each and every resident under our care.
The recommended interval between second COVID-19 vaccinations and the booster for the majority is six months, but the timeline for vulnerable populations and healthcare workers can be as early as eight weeks. It is highly recommended to receive a booster vaccination.
Chief medical officer of health COVID-19 update – March 8, 2022
You can now book your third dose. Find out more information here.
Easing COVID-19 measures in continuing care is part of Step 3 of Alberta’s path to return to normal. All existing requirements remain in place in these settings, including continuous masking for staff and visitors. Read more here.
Support from family and friends
• Access to support and companionship from family and friends is essential to resident mental and physical health and wellbeing.
• Visiting family and friends must:
- wear a mask continuously while indoors and in resident rooms (unless a significant communication barrier is present)
- stay home if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, even if mild and even if you are fully vaccinated
• Family and friends who are not fully immunized are asked to strongly reconsider their need to attend to the resident onsite, indoors and in-person before entering the site.
• Alternatives to onsite indoor in-person visits include outdoor visits, virtual visits and telephone calls.
• Operators have authority to implement additional site-based policies and processes for COVID-19 prevention (including requiring proof of vaccine or rapid testing) as appropriate to local context and consideration of resident preferences. These measures may be implemented based on consultation with residents and family members and, once implemented, apply to all persons entering the site.
Updated operational and outbreak standards
The following protections are in place to protect staff and residents from COVID-19:
• Staff, students, volunteers, service providers and visiting persons must continue to wear masks.
• Enhanced cleaning and disinfection processes must be followed.
• Staff, students, service providers, volunteers and visitors must have a health assessment screening when entering the building.
• Residents who are not fully immunized returning from absences of more than 24 hours are required to active screen daily for symptoms of COVID-19 and wear a mask while out of their room for 10 days.
• Residents and staff continue to be prioritized for PCR testing.
• Situation specific isolation and quarantine requirements remain.
• Outbreak procedures must be followed.
• Fully immunized staff are permitted to work across multiple long-term care or designated supportive living communities.
• Staff who are not fully immunized continue to be limited to working within one single long-term care or designated supportive living communities.
By March 18, there will be no visitor limits at long-term care and seniors' assisted living communities. Read more about B.C.’s changing policies here.
British Columbians are still encouraged to get a booster shot.
Guidance for long-term care residences
• Visits to long-term care residences are restricted to essential visits and visits from single designated visitors.
• Essential visits include visits for compassionate reasons, such as end-of-life care or those essential to a resident’s care and mental well-being. Contact the long-term care community to find out if you qualify as an essential visitor
• Every resident in long-term care can identify a single designated visitor who may continue to visit the resident at times when visitation is restricted. Single designated visitors are permitted in a care home/residence that has an active COVID-19 outbreak, under guidance and direction from the local medical health officer.
Community-wide social events or gatherings, adult day programs and in-house respite are allowed.
• Indoor gatherings may include residents and staff across units of a residence.
• Outdoor gatherings may include fully vaccinated family and friends who have met the requirements for visitation (e.g. no symptoms of illness, fully vaccinated, rapid point-of-care testing for long-term care).
• For seniors’ assisted living communities, all visitors are allowed if they meet the visitor protocols.
• All visitors to long-term care, assisted living, and acute care residences will need to show proof that they are fully vaccinated with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine (excluding children under the age of 12 or those with an approved medical exemption and compassionate visits related to end of life).
• Visitors must be screened for signs and symptoms of illness prior to every visit. Visitors with signs or symptoms of illness, as well as those in self-isolation or quarantine in accordance with public health directives, are not permitted to visit.
• All visitors who are 12 years of age and older must also complete rapid point-of-care testing at the entrance. Visitors to standalone seniors’ assisted living residences are not required to undergo rapid POC testing. However, if a seniors’ assisted living residence is part of a campus of care with long-term care where there is a common entrance and/or hallways, visitors (12 or older) to seniors’ assisted living may be required to undergo rapid POC testing.
• Operators may designate visiting hours in order to ensure there is adequate staff to support safe visiting practices.
• All visitors to long-term care residences, including those fully vaccinated, are required to wear a medical mask during their visit (indoor and outdoor) and follow any other preventative measures required to support visits.
• All visitors to seniors’ assisted living homes are required to wear a medical mask in hallways, common areas and multiple occupancy rooms. Masks are not required when fully vaccinated visitors are visiting residents in single occupancy units.
• Visitors and residents are expected to clean hands before and after visiting, practice hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette - i.e. cough or sneeze into elbows sleeves and dispose of used tissues properly.