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Alberta, Jun 28 (Canadian-Media): Alberta Government continues to provide unprecedented support for vulnerable groups due to COVID-19 pandemic, media reports said.
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Although any one can be hit by COVID-19, older Albertans and those with heart disease, diabetes or other underlying medical conditions are the most at risk of experiencing severe health outcomes.
To date, of 154 deaths reported in Alberta. 139 were individuals over the age of 70, and almost 90 percent of those who died from COVID-19 had two or more underlying conditions.
“Our government will continue providing unprecedented support for vulnerable groups, but we need everyone to act responsibly and encourage others to do the same. Simple actions save lives, so let’s all keep doing our part,” said Jason Kenney, Alberta Premier.
Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health, Alberta said that the government " includes provincewide funding to help cover costs arising from COVID-19 protective measures and help seniors to remain safe at home.”
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health said that by taking simple, everyday actions, we can help limit the spread, particularly to those most at risk of COVID-19.
The support extended by Alberta government during the spring to protect at-risk Albertans includes $14.2 million a month, and more than $170 million total, in additional funding to help long-term care staff and residents, designated supportive living facilities and seniors lodges. Funding is being distributed in coordination with Alberta Health Services and Seniors and Housing and will continue until the orders from Alberta's chief medical officer of health are lifted.
Long-term care and designated supportive living operators have already received $38.7 million.
The wage top-up of an additional $2 per hour for health-care aides at contracting continuing care facilities will also continue, along with funds to increase staffing levels, at a cost of $7.3 million a month.
Other recent investments for at-risk Albertans include: $500 million in additional funding for Budget 2020 to support Alberta’s health system during the pandemic; $30 million to charities, not-for-profits, food banks and civil society organizations; $25 million to expand shelter space across the province to protect Albertans experiencing homelessness; $21.6 million to expand online resources and virtual supports for Albertans seeking help for mental health and addiction challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic; $5 million for women’s emergency shelters to support women and children fleeing violence to ensure they are protected and have access to safe isolation with supports.
A number of other targeted measures will also continue until further notice, including: Asymptomatic testing for all Albertans, including at all locations with outbreaks and all continuing care facilities; Mandatory protections for staff and residents at continuing care facilities, including continuous staff masking, staff screening, and restrictions on staff working at more than one facility; Enhanced outbreak protocols and infection prevention and control measures for all continuing care facilities and independent seniors living facilities; screening protocols and enhanced cleaning for residents and staff at residential addiction treatment facilitie; almost 20 million free non-medical masks distributed to Albertans in June, with another 20 million to be released in July; Expanded monitoring of licensed supportive living and long-term care settings to ensure compliance to protocols and standards.
Government is now engaging with those most at risk of severe outcomes, seniors, senior-serving organizations, and disability groups to hear their ideas on what restrictions can be safely relaxed while still protecting them from infection
Quick facts about at-risk populations in Alberta