More hospitals across the province are adding masking requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within them, Alberta Health Services announced on Monday.
With 12 units on COVID-19 outbreak, the Royal Alexandra Hospital added “enhanced masking” on Friday.
On Monday, Edmonton’s Misericordia Community Hospital, University of Alberta Hospital and the Stollery Children’s Hospital, Grey Nuns Community Hospital, Alberta Hospital Edmonton and Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital will require all AHS staff, physicians, volunteers and Alberta Precision Laboratories workers to wear masks while in patient-facing areas or spaces when those health-care workers might interact with patients.
The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre and Central Alberta Cancer Centre will also require workers to wear masks when interacting with patients.
Patients and visitors will be required to wear masks while in emergency departments and while in labour and delivery assessment/triage areas.
The provincial health authority noted no patient will be denied services, but did not explain how.
Factors that led to the masking decision include rate of hospitalizations, number of acute care outbreaks, occupancy, test positivity and situational context.
As of Oct. 16, the University of Alberta Hospital had two units on outbreak, the Misericordia had five, two units were on outbreak at the Grey Nuns, Alberta Hospital Edmonton had three units on outbreak, and two Glenrose units were on outbreak. Three units at the Red Deer hospital were also on outbreak.
AHS data showed acute care outbreaks in the Edmonton and Central Zones have been increasing exponentially since mid-September.
On Wednesday, Alberta Health Services announced a new masking directive, a policy mechanism allowing local leaders to make decisions on when masks were required in acute care settings.
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