Alberta to reintroduce non-emergency surgeries, offer voluntary COVID-19 testing in long-term care facilities
Voluntary COVID-19 testing will be available to staff and residents at long-term care facilities and Level 4 designated supportive living facilities beginning May 25 (file)
CALGARY -- The availability of hospital beds in the province has allowed for the reintroduction of several services and residents and staff in long-term care facilities will soon have access to voluntary COVID-19 testing.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced Friday that non-emergency surgical procedures requiring a hospital stay would be offered in Alberta again beginning next week and two maternity wards that had been temporarily shuttered would reopen.
Maternity services at the South Health Campus in Calgary and the High River Hospital are scheduled to resume June 3. The services had been consolidated into other facilities in April to ensure the hospitals had space available to accommodate a potential influx of COVID-19 patients.
"Albertans have done a great job of flattening the curve of COVID-19 infections and reducing the risk to the dedicated women and men working in our hospitals," explained Shandro in a statement released Friday. "As a result, we can safely resume providing more of the scheduled care Albertans need.
"I know the deferral of scheduled services has been hard on patients and families, but it was the right thing to do as part of our overall strategy to protect Albertans from the impact of the pandemic."
In addition to the surgery and maternity reintroductions, the province announced Friday that — starting May 25 — voluntary testing will be available to the 27,000 residents and 44,000 staff members at long-term care and Level 4 designated supportive living facilities in Alberta. The tests will be administered to anyone who requests one even if they have no COVID-19 symptoms.