More hospitals and Alberta Health Services locations across the province are adding enhanced masking in the face of increasing spread of COVID-19.
The directive requires staff, physicians, volunteers and lab workers to wear masks when in spaces when they are in patient-facing spaces like care areas, hallways, foyers, cafeterias, or gift shops.
Patients and visitors are not required to wear a mask in those areas, but are required when in emergency departments and labour and delivery assessment/triage areas in those facilities.
On Tuesday, six more sites in the Edmonton zone decided to add masks:
- Devon General Hospital
- Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital
- Northeast Community Health Centre (14007 50 St. in Edmonton)
- Leduc Community Hospital
- Strathcona Community Hospital (in Sherwood Park)
- Westview Health Centre (in Stony Plain)
On Friday, Calgary’s Cross Cancer Institute also added enhanced masking for workers there, but does not require masking for patients and visitors “except for areas where staff determine masking is required.”
AHS said signage will be in place where masking is required.
A total of 14 AHS sites are now using the enhanced masking directive two weeks after it was put in place by the provincial health authority.
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Acute care outbreaks
Also on Tuesday, AHS released updated information on acute care outbreaks in the province.
The total number of patients, health-care workers and hospital units involved in outbreaks declined from the week before, for the first time since the province marked a new respiratory virus season.
By zone, the North, Central and Calgary zones saw declines in numbers.
The Edmonton Zone had the same number of patients as last week involved in COVID-19 outbreak, as well as a slight increase in health-care workers and only one fewer unit in outbreak.
The Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton continues to have a high number of patients, workers and units in outbreak, with 10 units, 98 patients and 24 healthcare workers currently affected. On Sept. 19, the Royal Alex only had one unit of three patients in outbreak.
An outbreak is declared when at least one person is determined to have caught the airborne virus in hospital.
According to the province’s respiratory virus dashboard, there were 361 COVID cases in hospital as of Oct. 14, and 13 in ICU — roughly double that of the previous week.
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