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Safe Holiday Gathering: An Update from our COO

We have a holiday weekend coming up when case counts in both Alberta and Ontario are climbing.  We know that it takes the collective effort of staff, residents, and their family members to keep COVID-19 out of our retirement communities.  We are sincerely appreciative of the work everyone is doing to keep one another safe.

With that in mind, the Alberta government issued some helpful suggestions for holiday visiting. I wanted to highlight some of the safety precautions they noted, should you be planning to gather with friends and loved ones for Thanksgiving:

If you are hosting

  • Talk to your guests ahead of time about your expectations and comfort level and encourage them to limit contacts in the two weeks prior to the gathering (as you should, too)
  • Ask guests to monitor themselves for symptoms and not attend if they are feeling unwell
  • Have a back-up plan in case you or your guests become ill before the gathering, such as an online visit instead
  • Be aware of group size restrictions for indoor and outdoor visits in your area
  • Ensure proper disinfection of high-touch surfaces, shared items, and dishes
  • Have hand sanitizer available for guests
  • Consider wearing a mask when not eating or drinking if physical distancing is not possible
  • If gathering outdoors is not possible, consider opening windows for greater ventilation
  • Make sure there is enough physical space between people who are not in the same cohort or “bubble”
  • Limit buffet or family-style service to people who are in the same cohort or “bubble”
  • Consider pre-portioned food or takeout options

If you are visiting

  • Be honest about any symptoms of illness and politely cancel if you are feeling unwell
  • If taking public transportation, taxi or ride-sharing you should wear a mask, wash/sanitize your hands well and sit away from the driver with the window open
  • Ask what the host’s safety precautions are ahead of the visit
  • Consider limiting contact with others for two weeks before the gathering
  • Visit for a shorter period of time if possible

For those who wish to visit a loved one at a Seasons Retirement Community over the holiday weekend, our visiting guidelines remain the same.  It is imperative that you book your visit in advance: This assists us and local Public Health with contact mapping should we have a case of COVID-19. It is a challenge to our physical distancing procedures when unplanned visitors arrive at the screening checkpoints, in the elevators, and throughout our buildings.

When you arrive you will undergo health screening.  We ask that you practice continuous masking, good hand hygiene, and proper physical distancing at all times.  It just takes one visit without a mask or physical distancing for someone to become infected.  We encourage people to not visit us if they feel unwell and we want to remind residents to please remain in their suites if they feel sick in any way.  Please inform a member of the Seasons Health & Wellness team who will follow up with you.

Team members, a reminder that this applies to you as well; please do not come to work if you are feeling ill.  If staff or residents find yourselves exposed to or at risk, please notify a Seasons Service Team Leader immediately so we can implement heightened protocols to limit the risk to the greater group.

We continue to follow all guidelines from Alberta Health (AH), Alberta Health Services (AHS), Ontario Ministry of Health (MOH), the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority (RHRA), and our Local Public Health Units, and continue with our precautionary Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) protocols, to promote the health and well-being of our residents and team members.

I recognize that this holiday weekend will be different than in years’ past.  Thank you all for considering the collective health and safety of our staff and residents.  I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

LeighAnne Voll
Chief Operating Officer

For additional online resources for COVID-19 you can visit the following sites:

Canada Health
Alberta Health
Alberta Health Services
Public Health Ontario
Retirement Home Regulatory Authority