Although a small number of confirmed or presumptive cases of the virus have been identified in Canada and Alberta, Health Canada, Alberta Health Services and other Canadian agencies state that the risk to Canadians is low. Our hospitals have strong systems in place to prevent and control infections and the outbreak is being closely monitored by all relevant agencies in our province and across Canada.
Should this issue escalate in Alberta, Kids Cancer Care is ready to respond in accordance with information and guidance from Alberta Health Services and its supporting agencies. Please know that we have plans in place, outlining the necessary steps to prevent the spread of infection and to respond quickly in the event of a COVID-19 incident in one of our facilities.
Serving children with compromised immune systems, Kids Cancer Care has established systems, policies and practices in place to mitigate the spread of infection in order to keep our families, volunteers and staff as safe as possible.
Here at Kids Cancer Care we continue to
- Monitor provincial reports on communicable disease outbreaks in the region.
- Circulate information on our infection prevention practices to families, volunteers, staff and visitors.
- Conduct health screening prior to camp and outreach programs.
- Ensure stringent cleaning practices, adapted from the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America guidelines, are routinely followed by our professional cleaning contractor (e.g., cleaning common areas and disinfecting high-touch surfaces in common areas at Camp Kindle and in the office).
- Regular application of a hospital-grade disinfectant at Camp Kindle and in the office. The disinfectant our professional cleaning contractor uses kills harmful bacteria and viruses without causing hazardous effects to the environment or people.
- Encourage frequent and proper hand washing (with soap and water or a 70% to 90% alcohol-based hand sanitizer) among staff, volunteers and children.
- Encourage proper cough and sneeze etiquette among staff, volunteers and children (e.g., coughing into a tissue or the crook of your arm, rather than into the palm of your hand).
In response to COVID-19, we are
- Restricting access of staff, volunteers, families and/or visitors, who have within the last 14 days travelled to, or through, any of the countries or regions with a risk rating of 3 or 4 on the Government of Canada list of countries with COVID-19 active travel health notices. Medical clearance will be required before returning to work or participating in one of our programs.
- Requiring staff and volunteers to regularly wipe down high-touch areas in their office (e.g., keyboard, mouse, telephone) and especially in areas that on-treatment children and youth frequent (e.g., PEER exercise room, Shaw Education Centre and any shared spaces).
- Implementing additional cleaning and disinfectant measures by our professional cleaning contractor, especially in high-touch areas frequented by on-treatment children and youth. Should there be a confirmed or presumptive case of COVID-19, or any other communicable diseases at one of our facilities, we are ready to implement our established protocol, which includes employing our professional cleaning contractor to conduct a deep and thorough, four-stage cleaning and disinfectant process.
You can help by
- Notifying Health Link 811 if you develop symptoms such as fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing or have concerns about the possibility of recent travel exposure or close contact with individuals who may have been exposed.
- Staying home if you or your family members are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing.
- Informing our nursing manager Mackenzie Murawsky if you or a family member develops cold- or flu-like symptoms within 14 days of attending one of our programs.
- Washing your hands with soap and water or a 70% to 90% alcohol-based hand sanitizer prior to entering our facilities and repeating this practice after using equipment in the PEER exercise room and other common areas.
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue or with the crook of your arm and disposing of tissues immediately.
- Familiarizing yourself with the symptoms of COVID-19 and monitoring developments related to the coronavirus by visiting the following websites:
Government of Alberta
Government of Canada
World Health Organization
World Health Organization – Coronavirus Q & A
Kids Cancer Care is a place where children with compromised immunity frequently gather and we strive to ensure that it is a safe, hygienic and welcoming community. At Kids Cancer Care, we are guided by the core values of respect, trust, responsibility, fairness and care. It is through this lens that we are approaching this situation. Thank you for your understanding and support as we work to keep our community, and the families we serve, safe.