More than $170 million in funding will go towards helping seniors facilities across the province to deal with the impacts of COVID-19.
Continuing care facilities across the province have seen a steady increase in COVID-19 cases, and to date accounts for 94 COVID related deaths. There are currently 95 active cases of COVID-19 at Alberta continuing care facilities, and 599 recoveries.
On Tuesday, Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced that the province will allocate $14.2 million per month, retroactive to March 15 to long-term care, supportive living facilities, and seniors lodges.
These funds will be specifically used to help with extra staffing, cleaning supplies and revenue lost due to the global health crisis. Operators will be required to report how they spend the money and any money not spent on COVID-related purposes must be returned.
Shandro says that the funding will continue as long as public health orders continue to be in place by Alberta's Chief Medical Officer.
He says "We know from our experience over the past few months that seniors are most at risk from COVID-19. If our province is to carefully and gradually lift public health restrictions, we must first make sure our most vulnerable will remain safe. This funding is another step in that direction and complements ongoing efforts."
Alberta Continuing Care Association Board Chair Jennifer McCue, says that continuing care operators are struggling to meet the challenges of this unprecedented pandemic. She says "Operators are facing rising costs to maintain operations, comply with provincial health orders and keep Albertans safe. In places where outbreaks have occurred, added precautions to respond to COVID-19 have increased operators’ incremental costs and they have no way to raise revenues to cover them."
This funding is one element of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy in efforts for the province to safely move towards the gradual lifting of public health restrictions.