All QEII Hospital employees will now be tested for illness before starting their shift. Alberta Health Services says the practice is being implemented at critical health care facilities across the province to ensure everyone can return to the frontline as soon as possible.
“They will be met at the entrance, given a temperature check, and given a short questionnaire to assess health risk. Any employee who is not fit for work will be asked to go home and be told self-isolate,” says Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw. “This is necessary to keep our health care workers and patients safe.”
Dr. Hinshaw adds AHS has implemented a limited process to have self-isolating staff return to work if they’re displaying no symptoms. The move would only be used when it is vital for the care provider to work without any other coverage options. The individuals will receive even more rigorous temperature checks and have to wear a mask regularly, among other mandatory measures.
“Patient and staff safety will be the deciding factor in any approval,” says Hinshaw.
AHS made testing changes on March 23rd to prioritize groups at highest risk of local exposure and at-risk populations. The move included the self-isolation timeline being altered from 14-days to 10 days following the onset of symptoms.
“The most up-to-date medical evidence indicates if you’re feeling well after ten days from the onset of mild symptoms such as sore throat, runny nose, or cough you will be able to stop self-isolating provided you symptoms have resolved.”
Hinshaw adds if symptoms continue past ten days, so should isolation.
There has been one more case of COVID-19 confirmed in the AHS North zone, bringing the total to 19. The province says 42 more cases of the virus have been confirmed since Sunday and there are now 301 across the province. More than 30,000 Albertans have been tested.
The City of Grande Prairie still has two confirmed cases and High Prairie five.