I am pleased to advise that we are transitioning to Phase Two of our strategic return to regular dining services this week. As of Wednesday, June 3, both lunch and dinner will be served in our dining rooms. Please refer to my update on May 11, 2020, for details on the many precautions we will be enforcing, in order to keep our residents and team members safe during mealtimes.
This week we have information to share that is specific to the two provinces in which we operate retirement communities.
Dr. Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH), announced on Friday, May 22 that voluntary, asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 will now be available for all residents/clients/staff of LTC and DSL 4/ 4D sites. This testing is voluntary so residents can decline. Planning is now underway to undertake this large initiative across the province. We were advised that more information will be coming in the near future as plans are finalized. We will share specific details with our homes that are impacted, at that time.
Presently, this CMOH order is only for asymptomatic testing of those residing in DSL4/4D suites. We will advise if this testing is made available for all our staff and residents. This should not be confused with the directive that any resident of a retirement community who shows a single symptom associated with COVID-19, will also be tested.
Dr. Hinshaw also advised that we will be able to welcome our hairdressers back to our homes, which I know will be a welcome treat for many of you. There will be strict guidelines for patrons of the onsite hair salon and we are currently working out the details with our hairdressers. We will aim to reopen our hair salons the week of June 8. Protocols will include but are not limited to the following:
- Hairdresser must complete health screening before entering our home
- Hairdresser and resident must both wear a mask
- One resident in the salon at a time
- No exchange of cash
- Stringent disinfecting of the salon between patrons
- No outside patrons allowed
Also starting the week of June 8, we will be able to offer small-group activities of up to five residents at one time.
There is a renewed effort by the Ontario government to test all asymptomatic residents of retirement communities. Some of our homes have already participated in mass testing and others are pending. We will advise residents and staff of these test dates and details as soon as the information is shared with us. We will be swift in communicating test results to all stakeholders in our continued efforts to be transparent with our staff, residents, and families.
As I have noted in the past, it will take the collective, continued cooperation of residents, staff, and family members to keep COVID-19 out of our homes. We know many of you are tired of these restrictions and are anxious to return to a more normal way of life.
Seasons is advocating to the Ontario Ministry of Health to allow for residents to have outdoor visits with family members, as we know this is important to our residents’ emotional well-being. This is the current practice in Alberta and with the many safety precautions and guidelines in place, it appears to be successful. Should the Ontario CMOH agree and give us the go-ahead, we will implement the directive and advise you all immediately.
In both Alberta and Ontario, the protection of our staff and residents’ health, remains our highest priority. A sincere thank you to the residents and families who have been patient and following our protocols and policies throughout this pandemic. Thank you to our team members who are working diligently to keep our residents, and one another healthy and safe.
We want to remind our families that while you may be apart from your loved one, they are not alone in your absence. Seasons remains dedicated to keeping our residents entertained and connected during these unprecedented times, and we have found many creative yet safe ways to continue having fun. For examples of this, I encourage you to visit our Seasons Facebook page or other social media channels.
As always, I want to thank you for the trust you have placed in Seasons Retirement Communities. Whether you work with us or have chosen to call us home, we will get through this by staying vigilant, together.
Chief Operating Officer
For additional online resources for COVID-19 you can visit the following sites: