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Masks required (again) for visitors to continuing care facilities

Masks once again required for visitors to continuing care facilities
Visitors to continuing care homes will once again have to mask up starting next week. Photo: Metro Creative Connection

Starting next week, Oct. 25, all visitors to continuing care facilities will have to mask-up throughout their stay, the government announced this week. The change doesn't apply to residents, unless they've returned from hospital or are newly admitted to the facility. In those cases, a quarantine will be required until residents test negative for COVID-19.

"Residents in these facilities remain at risk, which is why we are increasing the protection around them," said Premier Jason Kenney.

Health officials are encouraging unvaccinated family and friends to not visit residents in person at this time. Facility operators are also able to implement additional rules, such as requiring proof of vaccination, as appropriate.

Health Minister Jason Copping said the measures will make residents safer while still supporting quality of life during a difficult fourth wave.

Starting Oct. 25, all visitors must wear masks in all indoor areas of all continuing care facilities, including while in residents’ rooms. Masking is mandatory for all visitors regardless of vaccination status.

In addition, all residents who are transferring to a continuing care facility from hospital or returning from a hospital stay longer than 24 hours must stay in quarantine until they test negative for COVID-19. A PCR test must be used, with testing conducted by Alberta Health Services.

Facility operators have the authority to implement additional COVID-19 measures in their facilities, after consulting with residents and their families. This includes actions such as requiring visitors to show proof of vaccination or undergo rapid testing.