Alberta Health Services is dropping masking requirements in all AHS facilities — including continuing care and contracted sites — as of June 19.
This applies to all patients and visitors, AHS staff, doctors, midwives, students, volunteers and contractors.
Alberta Precision Laboratories, Covenant Health facilities such as the Misericordia and Grey Nuns hospitals, CapitalCare and Carewest sites are also included.
AHS said the decision is based on several factors. Among them are Alberta’s declining number of COVID-19 cases, wastewater data and hospital admission rates for respiratory illnesses.
The health-care provider said it consulted with stakeholders such as patients, families, advisory councils, clinicians and frontline managers in arriving at its decision.
AHS said people are welcome to wear masks if they choose, but will not be required to do so.
Patients are encouraged to discuss masking, hand washing or other factors important to their care with their health-care providers.
Staff are required to use the infection prevention and control risk assessment to make decisions regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) and to follow AHS routine practices to prevent the spread of infection. Appropriate PPE will continue to be available for patients and health-care workers.
All staff are encouraged to stay home when sick and to continue to practice proper hand hygiene as part of their efforts to keep Albertans safe.
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AHS added it will closely monitor COVID-19 data to see if there is any need for changes to the new policy.
Several other provinces have also dropped mask mandates for health-care facilities in recent months.
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