October 23, 2020: Westlock County has 23 active cases as of today. That’s a jump of 10 since Friday, October 23. Our management team has been in meetings throughout the day developing a response. We have decided to close our office to the public and limit visitors.
October 14, 2020: Much has happened since the last update. In June, we re-opened our office with precautions in place.
April 13, 2020: Today’s stats show a marked increase from when we started tracking on March 19 when there were 119 cases in Alberta. Today there are 1,732. The precautions that we are taking have been effective. The expectation of staff is that they are self isolating as much as possible when they are not at work. We now have PPE in the residences and staff are required to wear a surgical mask whenever they are unable to maintain 6 feet distance from other staff or individuals we serve.
The purpose of the mask is to protect the individuals from staff potentially exposure to the virus when they are not at work. The individuals we serve are following the social distancing and isolation protocols and therefore, presumably do not pose a risk to staff. We are so fortunate and so impressed with our staff. They are considered essential by the government, and to us they are beyond essential – we could not be more proud!
April 10, 2020: Today is Good Friday, the beginning of the Easter long weekend. Normally, we would be planning our Easter dinner and religious celebrations, but in a global pandemic nothing seems normal. Our agency is following the same protocols as AHS for congregate settings. As such our staff and individuals we serve are subject to priority testing. We require that anyone entering a residence completes a health screening that includes a list of questions and a temperature check. In addition, we are now performing daily symptom checks on all individuals. Anyone presenting with symptoms is reported to AHS and testing is performed. While awaiting results, the staff person would be off work and expected to self isolate at home. An individual receiving services in a residence presenting with symptoms will be isolated, usually in their bedroom, and precautionary measures will be taken to prevent spread including expanded environmental cleaning.
April 1, 2020: As we enter a new month, we are all just coming to terms with the gravity of the situation. The entire world is dealing with the same issues. It can be overwhelming for everyone, but it is particularly difficult for some of the individuals we serve to understand why their world’s have been turned upside down. Physical distancing is our new normal, and that means individuals are separated from their families or from their staff. People who have gone to stay with their families are missing their routines and their staff. People who are at home with their roommates are missing their families. New pages are being added to showcase some of the people we serve to share how they are coping during this pandemic. We are having to be creative to stay connected. Keep an eye on our We Miss You page as it continues to grow as people submit their pictures, videos and stories. All images are published with permission from individuals and guardians. We hope that these images will help lift everyone’s spirits.
March 25: A rough day today! Our area records its first confirmed case. We also learned about an outbreak in a group home for adults with developmental disabilities in Calgary. We recognize that this is a stressful and difficult time for everyone. As we navigate these uncharted waters, it is important that we take care of each other. WIN staff are using social media and technology to stay connected. We have a great group of people who are funny and witty and they are helping everyone to cope by keeping us laughing. Staff are being creative in their work with individuals who really don’t understand why their routines have been so drastically changed. In spite of their confusion, their staff are making their days full and fun and spreading joy. Our Executive Director made the comment on several occasions that crisis defines us. We can be so proud as a collective group and an agency of how we are defining ourselves in this crisis.
March 24: The stats have continued to rise each day. As of today at 4:30PM there are 358 cases in Alberta, and 20 in the north zone. Tomorrow we will begin reaching out to families to touch base and determine next steps. Some families are self isolating together and not concerned about resuming services while others are anxious to resume. With no way to predict what each day will bring, we will continue to keep the lines of communication open and do our very best to provide the support needed.
March 20: Confirmed cases in Alberta have jumped from 146 yesterday to 195 today, and from 10 to 17 in our north zone. We continue to practice and increase our social distancing efforts. Our office is closed to the public but open to staff. Office staff are working from home.
March 19: The confirmed cases in Alberta have jumped from 119 to 146 overnight and from 4 to 10 confirmed in our north region.
March 18: We now have 4 confirmed cases in the north region, 119 in the province, and we have 16 staff who are unavailable for work due to self isolating.
March 17: The good news is that there’s only one confirmed case in our north zone, but the bad news is that the numbers of confirmed cases are quickly growing.
Memo to staff to advise of additional measures to prevent the spread and reminders to:
>Wash hands when you arrive as per hand washing technique and use hand sanitizer (if available), wash hands several times throughout the shift;
>Maintain personal space of 3-6 feet (whenever possible), wear masks for closer contact (if available)
> Wipe down hard surfaces as listed in previous memo (using disinfectant solution at each shift change)
> Minimize staff coming and going; no visitors (family or otherwise),
>For essentials like groceries; take advantage of grocery stores and pharmacies delivering to homes, some selected WIN staff may help but do not take individuals shopping,
>No outside events, although getting out for a walk, drive or spending time in your yard are good options. Many events and businesses are already closed; Library, Aquatic Centre, Spirit Centre, Bingo, Schools, Action Bus, Day Care and some bowling events – events for over 50 people.
> Effective today at 3:00 pm; In the best interests of the vulnerable people we serve, if people choose to leave to spend any time with their families, they are expected to remain with them for a minimum of two weeks. We will re-evaluate on March 30
>Take advantage of other ways of visiting; phone calls, social media, texting, video calls (Facetime) etc.
>Suggested activities; crafts, games, movies, baking or look online and share your ideas.
March 16: Our Risk Management Committee is meeting daily, reviewing the current situation and updating our responses as the situation evolves.
March 15: In our efforts to practice social distancing as recommended by various levels of government, we cancelled Employment, Community Access and Respite Services.
We will be having minimal staff at the office but can always be reached by; Emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org leaving a message at 780-349-5388 after hours emergency phone; 780-307-1118
March 12, 2020: As COVID-19 is in the news and certainly closer to home, our Risk Management Committee is staying informed and beginning the process of planning our response.