April 3rd, 2020 COVID-19 Update

Memo to people we support, families, and guardians: 

Prevention and Preparedness Regarding the Novel-CoronaVirus (COVID-19)

From: Executive Director and Senior Leadership of Skills Society

 

April 3rd, 2020 Update

The leadership of Skills Society continues to work day and night on preparedness measures, advocacy, and creative collaborations in the sector that are unprecedented as we navigate the spread of COVID-19. 

We continue to follow directions and information provided by the provincial and federal government as well as health authorities. As you know the situation with COVID-19 is constantly evolving and we are working diligently to be as responsive to new information as possible and do everything in our power to protect the citizens with disabilities we serve, our employees and community. 

Shout Out and Thank-You to all Our Incredible Employees!

The senior leadership of Skills would also like to send a huge shout out and thank you to team leaders and front line staff who are safely serving and supporting people in these times. Managers have been working with families and teams to reduce physical interactions – only going out for essential items, and figuring out ways to get creative in homes to support a vibrant home life as best possible. Our sincerest thanks for all the work you do! Let us each express our gratitude and remind one another of the value of the supports provided each and everyday to protect and serve citizens with disabilities. 

A Bit About the Current Situation in Alberta and Canada

Alberta is taking aggressive measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19. As of the morning of April 2nd, there are 968 confirmed cases in Alberta and 11,747 in Canada. As of April 2, 174 people in Alberta have recovered from COVID-19. To get the most up to date information we recommend checking the following websites regularly:

This week disability support services were also deemed essential services by the Government of Alberta. 

Some Hopeful Messages from the Premier at the end of March:

  • Vast majority of reported cases exhibit mild symptoms
  • Across Canada and Alberta starting to see recovered patients. 174 in Alberta so far (April 2nd).
  • Thanks to excellent pandemic planning and swift action on the part of AHS and Chief Medical Officer, Alberta Health and AHS are managing the outbreak effectively. The best measure of Alberta’s response is that we currently rank 4th in per capita testing.

Actions Being Taken by Skills Society

Below is an overview of measures we have taken this week at Skills Society. For an overview of preventative measures previously implemented please see our previous memos linked at the bottom of this message. 

All the measures we are taking are based on directions from Health authorities. We have, and will continue to, go above and beyond to add extra precautions that safeguard the people we support and our staff as well as help reduce the spread of the virus. An example of this is our recent implementation of our “Skills Visitor and Staff Checklist”, a requirement of all visitors and staff prior to entering the home of someone we support.  

New Actions This Week

  • We have a new COVID-19 resource area on our website that you can access and get helpful information from – https://www.skillssociety.ca/covid-19-resources/
  • Daily Visitor and Staff Checklists have been fully implemented. This will effectively reduce the chances of spreading COVID-19 (See March 27th memo for more info)
  • New Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has come in and we continue to secure more. Ed Woodward (Pandemic Coordinator) works with teams to ensure the right equipment goes to support the right situations where it is required as per health authorities. We also continue to advocate with government to secure steady supplies of PPE. 
  • We have messaged out clearly that no employee will be put in an unsafe situation and we are following all PPE guidelines. We have been assured that health authorities and CSS will support disability service organizations in the event of confirmed COVID-19.
  • A safe transportation procedure has been developed and sent to staff to support during COVID-19.
  • Updated social distancing and procedures for supporting people in apartments developed and shared with employees working in those environments. 

Actions On the Horizon

  • MANDT Mental health webinars to strategize and support employees
  • Innovative project underway to support connection of people we support through new technologies. This is a few weeks away, but we’re exploring how we might create virtual community building experiences similar to our CommuniTEA Infusion project to help connect people we serve with their friends and family and to educate around staying safe. 

For More Information

  • If you are a family or guardian and require additional information please be in touch with the manager associated with your loved one’s support. 
  • If you are a Skills Employee and require additional information you can be in touch with pandemic coordinators, Linda or Ed at 780-496-9686.

Previous Public Memos

Public Memos are available on our website under the ‘news’ tab.

We appreciate your patience and support as we continue to navigate these uncertain and unprecedented times. Please know that we are working our hardest to keep the people we serve and our staff as safe as possible. 

Sincerely,

Ben Weinlick, Executive Director and the Senior Leadership Team

Note- What’s happening with COVID-19 is changing rapidly. We become aware of new information from the provincial and federal governments and health authorities on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. We are working hard to be responsive to this new information as it becomes available. As such, information in this memo may change and quickly become outdated. We are doing our best to communicate new information to the people we support, families, guardians, and staff in a timely manner.

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