Effective April 12, 2021
Parkland CLASS has completed a review of current Agency restrictions with the focus on balancing the health and safety for our individuals and staff, while recognizing the importance of increasing social contacts and individual mental health. Since the start of the year, Parkland CLASS has experienced a surge in COVID positive cases and outbreaks within our services; 68 individuals and staff to date. Unfortunately, this has resulted in the passing of one of our individuals, and the hospitalization of several others. Staffing has also been a challenge as employees are put off to isolate or quarantine, making the staffing of our homes incredibly challenging. In addition, cases of COVID are on the rise in the Alberta, and the Province is now experiencing a surge in Variant cases which are much more transmissible and present with more severe symptoms. As a result, we need to remain cautious in our approach to limit risk for individuals and employees and maintain our ability to safely staff our homes. With these factors is mind, effective April 12th, and for as long as health guidelines and Agency situations permit, outdoor backyard visits with designated family/friends will be considered. Individual circumstances will be reviewed and approved based on level of risk as well as Alberta Health Orders and restrictions.
As we move forward and individuals/ staff are vaccinated, we will continue to review our restrictions to determine if we are able to start reintroducing more activities. As always, we want to encourage the continuous practices of social distancing, hand washing and hygiene, the appropriate use of masks, shields and gowns, maintenance of our cleaning protocols, health monitoring protocols and all of the other preventative strategies that are in place. This will ensure we all stay safe and hopefully result in a faster return to normal activities. Parkland CLASS continues to appreciate the support and understanding of our individuals, staff, guardians, family members and broader community as we continue to navigate the pandemic and keep those we serve and employ safe.
Thank you everyone for your support, understanding and ongoing commitment.
Effective February 22, 2021
Based on the February 19 News Release, our individuals appear to be scheduled for Phase 2 Group C of the vaccination rollout. In anticipation of the vaccination, we have been working diligently to obtain consents from guardians so that we are prepared for the vaccine when it arrives. Our goal is to be ready as soon as we are notified by health that it is our turn in the queue for vaccinations.
With respect to the current visitation rules, we are closely following the AHS guidelines. Currently we have a compounding variable, which relates to the numbers of staff that cross over between our sector and another organisation who experienced a significant outbreak. As a result, we have been dealing with a large number of isolations, up to 16 homes at a time, while we get people tested and await results. This has significantly reduced our staffing compliment and we need to be very diligent in terms of ensuring our staffing resources and team capacity is stable while we navigate these challenging situations. Consequently, prudence becomes a necessity in terms of maintaining our services.
As an organization that serves many vulnerable individuals, we have experienced first hand the very serious medical impacts of COVID-19. We have had and currently have individuals in hospital due to the severity of the symptoms; tragically, we have had one individual pass away.
We are appreciative of the support we have received as we try to balance all of the variables and maintain the safety of those we serve and employ. We trust you can appreciate, that there is no perfect solution. Our goal is the overall safety of those we serve and the staff that are required to provide our services, we are working to balance all of the variables as safely and reasonably as we can. Once we are clear of the current influx of isolations and we see what the Provinces next steps are, we will be reviewing our protocols.
Effective February 8, 2021
Effective February 8, 2021, Alberta launched a new 4-step plan to ease restrictions which are further detailed within Public Health Order CMOH 02-2021. This 4 step plan is based on hospitalization benchmarks and a minimum of 3 weeks between steps. Once hospitalizations are within range of the benchmark, decisions to move to the next step will be considered.
Parkland CLASS’ current measures continue to fall within the restrictions outlined within this Health Order. Therefore, in a continued effort to keep our staff and individuals safe, the following remains in place:
- Visits inside the home are not permitted. Only staff and individuals are permitted inside the home.
- Outdoor visits are not permitted.
- All activities that involve entering a facility, or interacting with people outside the individual’s immediate cohort (group home/roommates), remain suspended until further notice.
- All specialized Risk Tolerance Assessments are on hold and no new requests will be accepted until the restrictions are lifted.
- Individuals and staff must wear masks in all public places in Red Deer unless otherwise exempted under the bylaw. To be exempt, please contact your coordinator to review the exemptions as per the bylaw.
Once the province moves into Step two (2) of the plan, Parkland CLASS will review its current measures again to ensure they remain within the Health Orders.
For reference, the 4-step plan is outlined below and can be found on the Alberta Health Services Website.
Restrictions eased Feb. 8:
Potential easing in these areas:
Potential easing in these areas:
Potential easing in these areas:
Effective November 27, 2020
I am sure you are aware the Province has implemented additional restrictions due to the increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases; click here to see Dr. Hinshaw’s most recent correspondence.
Unfortunately, as the numbers have begun to rise, Parkland CLASS has now had our first two staff test positive for COVID-19. Fortunately, we have not had any spread within our homes and as of this weekend our most recent isolated house has obtained an all clear for the individuals and staff.
We have colleagues in the Province that have not been as fortunate and they have had people die. I know that this is the last thing any of us wants to have happen, so please bear with us as we navigate this very difficult time.
I know that everyone is getting tired of COVID-19 and all the restrictions, however I think that what is happening is very clear, let your guard down and the numbers go up. Our Individuals and employees are counting on us to keep them safe and do what is necessary to get us to the point that the vaccine is available. As Premier Kenny said in his recent address, we can see an end in sight; I would ask that you please bear with us as we continue to do our best to keep everyone safe.
Take care, be safe and we will continue to do our best to hold the line against COVID-19.
CEO, Parkland CLASS
Effective November 13, 2020
In response to increasing numbers of COVID-19, the province has issued targeted public health measures in an effort to limit the spread of the virus. These restrictions take effect November 13th and are in place for two weeks until November 27th, 2020.
In order to comply with the measures announced by Premier Kenney and AHS, and ensure we are doing our part to minimize the risk of spreading COVID, Parkland CLASS is implementing the following guidelines which take effect immediately:
- All visits inside the home are suspended until further notice.
- All activities that involve entering a facility, or interacting with people outside the individual’s immediate cohort (group home/Proprietorship/ roommates), are suspended until further notice.
- Activities that include family coming and taking the individual out are suspended.
- All Specialized Risk Tolerance Assessments currently under review will be considered, but no further risk assessments will be accepted until current restrictions are lifted. Note: current risk assessments will only be approved if they meet the current restrictions as outlined above.
Parkland CLASS is committed to ensuring that we stay up to date on the information being presented and align our practices with the current health orders and guidelines. We will continue to monitor the information being presented and adapt our guidelines as it is warranted and safe to do so. We understand how challenging this is and we are very appreciative of the support and understanding that we have received to date.
Parkland CLASS Management
Effective September 24, 2020
Parkland CLASS has completed a review of our current guidelines taking into account new information received from the latest Health Order from Dr. Deena Hinshaw. Parkland CLASS is committed to ensuring that we stay up to date on the information being presented and adapt our practices with the focus on balancing the health and safety for our individuals and staff, while recognizing the importance of increasing social contacts.
With this is mind, our approach moving forward is to review individual circumstances and determine where more activities and family connections can occur within the risk guidelines recommended by health.
As mentioned in previous updates, our approach is to remain cautious to not undo the great work that our staff have done to date which has resulted in no positive COVID-19 cases for our individuals or staff. As we move forward and people start to reintroduce activities, it is important to continue to practice social distancing, hand washing and hygiene, the appropriate use of masks, maintenance of our cleaning protocols, health monitoring protocols and all of the other preventative strategies that have been effective to date.
Parkland CLASS continues to appreciate the support and understanding of our individuals, staff, guardians, family members and broader community as we continue to navigate our new realities and keep those we serve and employ safe. Our ongoing success is in our hands and we have demonstrated that we know what we need to do. Thank you everyone for your support, understanding and ongoing commitment.
Effective August 11, 2020
Parkland CLASS is working to balance COVID-19 safety for our individuals and staff while recognizing the importance of increasing social contact. Unfortunately, this is not a simple issue, as evidenced by the gradual increase in positive COVID-19 cases as the government's level of restrictions is removed.
Our challenge is not to undo five months of disciplined work, which has resulted in no positive COVID-19 cases for our individuals or staff and has had a limited impact on the majority of our individuals.
A significant challenge, as we increase social opportunities, relates to our homes' physical layout, which does not provide spaces that are easily isolated, ensuring the safety of all the individuals who live in the house and their staff. A further key variable maintaining our individuals' ongoing health will be our reliance on the honour system as we increase social opportunities for our individuals.
With these as our overriding concerns, we ask for your understanding as we increase social interaction opportunities for our individuals and your family members. As stated, our updated plan relies on the honour system and will only be as effective as we all are at following it.
Parkland CLASS is incredibly appreciative of the understanding that those we serve, their guardians, and our staff have shown over the past few months. As an organization, we believe our cautious approach has been instrumental in reducing the risk to our individuals, and we are counting on everyone's continued support as we move forward.
In closing, once again, we offer our sincere appreciation for your support and understanding. Our ongoing success remains dependent on everyone that comes in contact with our individuals and their commitment to following all the safety precautions. We will continue to do our best to protect our individuals and staff as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold
Effective June 5, 2020
We have seen one new health order from Alberta Health since our last update; CMOH order number 23.
CMOH Order 23-2020 includes amendments from CMOH Order 10-2020:
- Updated symptoms screening for individuals, staff and visitors
- Clarity on when new individuals move in
- Additional clarification with respect to cleaning guidelines
- Updated information on testing guidelines, and
- Recommendations with respect to resident outings and recreational activities.
CMOH Order 23-2020 includes new guidelines:
- Guidelines for accessing health care professionals
- Student placements
- Guidelines for hair salons, and
- Staff well-being
As was discussed in previous updates, we do not fall under the health order, however it is our desire and intent to follow the practices and recommendations within the Health Orders to the extent that we are mandated, and in cases where we are not, to the extent that we can.
In addition to following the guidelines under the health order(s), we are also reviewing the impact of the Provincial Relaunch Strategy. Parkland CLASS’ position has been to be judicious in our approach; not wanting to undo the success to date with keeping our individuals safe. Our individuals are typically more vulnerable than the average person and we don’t want to introduce an outbreak into the organization
With that in mind, our approach moving forward is to cautiously start reintroducing activities and reconnecting our individual’s pre-pandemic lifestyle within the guidelines recommended by health.
Please note that this is going to take time and a cautious approach is, in our opinion, the safest. As we go forward we don’t want to lose sight of the importance of continuing to practice social distancing, hand washing and hygiene, the appropriate use of masks, maintenance of our cleaning protocols, health monitoring protocols and all of the other preventative strategies that have been effective to date.
Effective May 17, 2020
We have seen several developments since our last COVID-19 update that we wanted to share with everyone. Two new orders from Alberta Health; CMOH orders number 12 and 14.
CMOH Order 12-2020 includes amendments from CMOH Order 10-2020:
- direction to test all residents in a site/unit in the case of a new confirmed outbreak of COVID-19;
- Clarification on who essential staff are that are permitted to work in more than one designated supportive living or long-term care;
- Recommendations on continuous use of eye protection in the case of a continued COVID-19 transmission;
- Additional clarity on when residents move out temporarily (e.g. move in with a child temporarily); and
- Guidelines for consideration to support quality of life including consideration for those residents living with cognitive impairments.
CMOH Order 14-2020 includes amendments from CMOH Order 09-2020, such as:
- Clarification with respect to Designated Essential Visitors
- Outdoor visits
- Visits at end of life
As was discussed in our last update, one of the main areas of confusion tends to relate to where we fall within the descriptions of services that are referenced in the Health Orders. In many instances we do not fall directly under the orders, however it is our desire and intent to follow the practices and recommendations within the Health Orders to the extent that we are mandated, and in cases where we are not, to the extent that we can.
The new orders have not had a substantive impact on our services as we already had structured practices in place. The bigger potential impact lies in the Provincial Relaunch Strategy. Parkland CLASS' position is that we are certainly pleased to see restrictions easing, as it is hopefully a reflection of COVID-19 starting to recede in terms of the number of new infections and it is a testament to everyone that is working hard to comply with the Health Orders and practices to limit the spread of the disease.
However, we want to be very cautious and not undo all of the success that we have had to date keeping everyone safe. Our individuals are typically more vulnerable than the average person and we don’t want to introduce an outbreak into the organization. With that in mind our approach is going to be slow and steady. We are very interested to see what the numbers look like after the May long weekend. This view is shared by PDD and Health is also keeping a close eye on how things progress.
We will be working with the Alberta Health guidelines and slowly reintroducing activities and reconnecting with more of our individual’s pre-pandemic life style as it becomes clear that the relaunch is not resulting in increased numbers of COVID cases.
Please note that this is going to take time and a cautious approach is, in our opinion, the safest. We have been told and are expecting that some restrictions will continue to be in place for quite some time. As we go forward we don’t want to lose sight of the importance of continuing to practice social distancing, hand washing and hygiene, the appropriate use of masks, maintenance of our cleaning protocols, health monitoring protocols and all of the other preventative strategies that have been effective to date.
Have a great long weekend. Let’s keep moving forward and maintaining our past practices that have kept both those we serve and all of us safe to this point. We will be encouraging activities that can be enjoyed at home, in the yard, or in areas that are not heavily trafficked. We will keep you updated as we work toward ensuring that everyone has a fun and safe summer. The reality is that this is not a quick fix and until we have an effective treatment or a vaccine, caution and common sense need to prevail.
Effective April 27, 2020
We wanted to provide an update on where we are currently at with COVID-19 and the newest Health Orders from Dr. Hinshaw. One of the main areas of confusion tends to relate to where we fall within the descriptions of services that are referenced in the Health Orders. The following chart that Alberta Council of Disability Services ACDS has developed shows this very well:
Restricting Visitors to Parkland CLASS Residences and ILS Services
Visits from family and friends are an important part of the lives of the individuals we serve. At the same time, COVID-19 has been demonstrated to be a particular risk to older adults and those with heart or lung disease, or multiple chronic conditions; Public Guardians and Trustees announced yesterday that in person visits are no longer being scheduled. The restriction of people who enter each residence is an important step we can take to protect our individuals and staff, and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Therefore:
We are asking that all visitors, including immediate family, refrain from visits until further notice to prevent unintentional spread to their loved one and other individuals and staff in the home.It has been shown that even those who show no symptoms of COVID-19 may be carrying the virus and be contagious to others.
- Exceptions to this directive will be subject to approval by the Residential Manager or Director. Approved visitors will be required to pass the AHS Visitor Screening Questionnaire.
Our goal is to minimize the risk of infection to our individuals and staff. We believe this measure will reduce the risk of loved ones and other individuals and staff being exposed to COVID-19.If you have questions, concerns, or to request an approved visit, call Nancy at 403-348-9649 or Renee at 403-877-5772.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Dan Verstraete, CEO, Parkland CLASS
AHS Visitor Screening Questionnaire:
Do you have any of the below symptoms:
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Have you travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days?
Have you had close contact (face-to-face contact within 2 meters/6 feet) with someone who is ill with cough and/or fever?
Have you been in contact in the last 14 days with someone that is being investigated or confirmed to be a case of COVID-19?
Have you had laboratory exposure while working with specimens known to contain COVID-19?
If you have answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, please DO NOT visit, or request a visit at this time.
If you have answered “No” to all the above questions and your visit is approved, follow the direction of the staff and practice hand hygiene (wash hands for 30 seconds and/or use hand sanitizer) before and after your visit.
Effective March 15, 2020
Parkland School COVID-19 Update
Following the Government of Alberta's announcement that student attendance at all K to 12 schools is prohibited, Parkland School is closed to all students with immediate effect (March 15th).
The school remains open to staff at this time.
Effective March 13, 2020
Parkland CLASS COVID-19 Update
In keeping with the advice of health authorities, Parkland CLASS is moving forward with steps to limit potential exposure of individuals and staff in an effort to minimize the risk of coming in contact with others who may have the virus:
- We have suspended activities at our Relax Crew Social Club
- We will be reducing outings within the community and focusing on experiences close to home.
- Individuals that we feel are particularly fragile or vulnerable from a health status will have their activities/bridging altered to reduce exposure to potential corona virus.
We understand how difficult a time this is and our goal is the health and safety of those we serve and our employees. Thank you for your understanding as we work through and support each other during this challenging situation.
Dan Verstraete, CEO
Parkland Community Living and Support Society