The Alberta COVID-19 Response: Critical Considerations for Health Care Worker Single-Site Exclusion Policies and Wage Supplements
On April 20, 2020, Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro issued a single-site exclusion order and wage supplement for health care aid workers at long term care centres in an effort to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 between and within high-risk populations. Adequate staffing and diligent infection prevention measures in long term care centres are necessary to maintaining a medically secure environment and alleviating the pressures that are being faced by acute and intensive care units in-hospital, which have reached capacity as of December 2020. This paper argues that the April 20th order was an insufficient and inefficiently executed iteration of a policy intended to protect both the lives of residents and livelihoods of employees in long-term care throughout the pandemic. I propose instead that centralized regulation of all health care aid and nursing support staff would have better addressed the financial and health concerns that this policy aimed to target. I will also point out systemic issues in Canadian long-term care provision that have been aggravated by COVID-19, as well as reiterate the need for general infection prevention measures outside of the long-term care setting.
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