As of June 19, Alberta Health Services (AHS) will no longer require patients, visitors and staff to mask up at AHS sites.
Continuous masking requirements are being rescinded for all facilities, including continuing care, Alberta Precision Laboratories, Covenant Health, CapitalCare, and Carewest sites and contracted sites.
This applies to all patients and families as well as all AHS and contracted staff, including physicians, midwives, students, volunteers, and contractors.
AHS says the decision was made after “careful review,” and was made based on declining COVID-19 cases, testing positivity rate, wastewater data and hospital admission rates for respiratory illnesses in Alberta, as well as consultation with stakeholders.
Those stakeholders included patients, families, advisory councils, clinicians and frontline managers.
“AHS continues to respect the choice to voluntarily wear a mask in all areas and encourages those who want to wear a mask to continue to wear one,” stated a release.
“Patients are encouraged to have conversations with their care providers regarding masking, hand hygiene, or other factors that patients feel are important to their care.”
AHS continues to encourage visitors or designated family support persons who have had respiratory symptoms to wait to visit loved ones until 10 days after symptom onset.
All visitors and support persons are recommended to mask when visiting symptomatic patients or residents.
Staff are required to continue to use the Infection Prevention and Control Risk Assessment to make personal protective equipment (PPE) decisions and AHS Routine Practices to prevent the spread of infections.
Appropriate types of masks and PPE will continue to be available in all settings for patients and healthcare workers.
“AHS is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment and will continue to closely monitor the need for changes to masking requirements.”