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Several Lakeland acute and long-term care facilities on COVID outbreak list

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LAKELAND - Several acute care, long-term care, and supportive living facilities in the Lakeland have recently found their way back on the Government of Alberta's list of COVID-19 outbreaks.

As of a March 23 update, the Bonnyville Health Centre, Bonnyville Healthcare Centre Auxiliary, Elk Point Healthcare Centre Auxiliary, Extendicare St. Paul, Bar-V-Nook Manor (Smoky Lake), Points West Living (Cold Lake), and Sunnyside Manor (St. Paul) were all included on the North zone outbreak list. 

The list says it is updated every Wednesday.

But, at least one of the facilities listed said it had been declared clear when Lakeland Today reached out for an update on the situation.

Laura Gallant, spokesperson with Extendicare confirmed that on Monday, March 21, "St. Paul’s outbreak was declared cleared."

Responding by email on Wednesday, she noted that "Since then, one team member has tested positive and as a result the home status is considered ‘under investigation' at this time, including continued monitoring and vigilance."

At the Bonnyville Healthcare Centre, there are two units on outbreak, one declared Feb. 16 and the other on March 14, confirms Karen Diaper, communications manager with Covenant Health.

"At this time, there are two active cases of COVID-19 associated with the outbreaks. There are no staff cases associated with these outbreaks," she added, in an email sent to Lakeland Today on March 25.

"Any staff who test positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, are required to follow protocols for isolation as outlined by provincial health orders and work with Occupational Health and Safety to determine next steps," said Diaper.

She adds that Covenant Health continues to work "tirelessly and collaboratively, following all public health orders and directives to ensure a safe environment for care."

At Sunnyside Manor, visitors are still allowed, although they are required to wear masks, says Brigitte Sakaluk, CAO with the MD Foundation, the organization that oversees the assisted care living facility.

The majority of residents at Sunnyside Manor are double vaccinated and have received booster doses for COVID-19. Sakaluk says the outbreak at Sunnyside was "relatively small." Once more than two residents test positive, everyone at the facility is tested for the virus.

Vaccinated residents must isolate in their rooms for five days, and when they come out, they are asked to mask for the next five days. Unvaccinated residents are still required to isolate for 10 days. 

As soon as an outbreak is declared, an inspection usually follows, says Sakaluk, and those inspections seem to reaffirm that the facility is doing everything correctly. 

Acute care and continuing care facilities are reported publicly when there are two or more cases, which indicated that a transmission within the facility had happened, according to the Government of Alberta. Case numbers for outbreaks are not provided online due to how quickly the numbers can change.

Province moves to weekly reporting

The Government of Alberta has moved to weekly reporting for COVID-19 cases, with the most recent update done on March 23 by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, and Minister of Health Jason Copping.

According to the most recent data provided by the province, there are 956 people in hospital due to the respiratory virus, and 56 of those people are in ICU.

Janice Huser

About the Author: Janice Huser

Janice Huser has been with the St. Paul Journal since 2006. She is a graduate of the SAIT print media journalism program, is originally from St. Paul and has a passion for photography.
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