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Lodges and Extendicare close doors to visitors

Residents safety is first priority

ST. PAUL - Local seniors’ lodges and St. Paul Extendicare have closed their doors to non-essential visitors to those facilities.

“It changes all the time. Last week we were screening, this week we are restricting,” Extendicare administrator Pat Chychul said Monday morning, adding the only visitors permitted into the facility will be in the case of a terminally ill patient.

Chychul said it’s hard to keep up with the changing directives as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves in the province.

“We are having a staff meeting this afternoon, making sure we cover two shifts and keep them apprised of what is going on. One of the concerns is the availability of staff, of course, and people who are working at the hospital and working here. Those are the things that we are addressing right now.”

The MD of St Paul Foundation, which oversees the operation of two seniors’ lodges - Sunnyside Manor in St. Paul and Elk Point Heritage Lodge - falls under the Supportive Living Accommodation Licensing Act. In regard to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation takes direction from Alberta Health Services and will follow those protocols.

On Monday, CAO Brigitte Sakaluk said no visitors, other than essential services, will be allowed at Sunnyside Manor and Elk Point’s Heritage Lodge because residents are at extreme risk from any potential COVID-19 exposure.

“Family members are being contacted, we have posted signs on our doors,” Sakaluk said. “It is going to essential visitors only.”

As of Monday, lodge residents were still able to come and go from the facility as they choose but Sakaluk said that could change very quickly also depending on directives from the province.

“Right now, our residents still can go out.”

On Friday, Sakaluk and Sunnyside Lodge Manor Kerry Trottier provided the following information to the St. Paul Journal in regard to what the MD of St Paul Foundation is doing in the wake of COVID-19.

“Ensuring staff and residents are familiar with COVID-19 symptoms.

Communicating information about COVID-19 symptoms, and steps required to self assess and respond in the event of symptoms, to residents, volunteers, contractors, families, friends, visitors, etc.

Posting signs emphasising that good hygiene practices remain the best defence against respiratory infections; i.e. frequent handwashing, cover coughs and sneezes etc.

Cleaning high touch surfaces frequently.

Both staff and residents are to report illness immediately. Our facilities will follow the process of outbreak identification and notification and maintain an increased vigilance for staff and residents with fever and cough.

As the MD of St Paul Foundation receives updates and the situation changes, we will adjust our protocols accordingly. Our staff and resident’s safety and well being is our first priority.”