Alberta Health Services ends front-door COVID-19 screening program provincewide

Staff inside the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, Alta. on Tuesday, June 16, 2020. Supplied

Alberta Health Services is ending its COVID-19 front-door screening program provincewide, according to a late Friday afternoon release.

Visitors to all AHS sites across the province will no longer be greeted by COVID-19 screeners, effective Saturday.

The move was made due to decreasing cases of respiratory illnesses, AHS said.

Those who are sick, regardless of whether or not they tested positive for any respiratory illness, are asked to avoid acute care and continuing care settings unless they are receiving care.

Masks are still mandatory for all visitors, physicians, staff and volunteers at all acute care, continuing care and community sites.

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Alberta will also be shutting down its PCR COVID-19 testing centres and moving to a rapid antigen-based testing regime the same day.

The province will also be changing its isolation guidance on Saturday. Previously, those who tested positive for COVID-19 were asked to isolate for five days.

This move comes two days after the province reported that an infant had died from the disease.

According to Alberta Health, a child under one year of age died in December 2022 and their death was reclassified as COVID-related within the last two weeks.

It is not uncommon for deaths to be reclassified as due to or not due to the coronavirus, depending on medical experts’ opinions and other documentation.

In the past two weeks, 24 more deaths in Alberta were attributed to the coronavirus, bringing the pandemic death toll to 5,643.

The infant was one of those deaths and the first in the under-1 age cohort.

As of March 27, there were 465 COVID hospitalizations. As of Monday, 25 people were in ICU with COVID-19.


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