Article posted on June 23, 2023
Continuous masking update
Alberta Health Services has rescinded the Use of Masks During COVID-19 Directive, effective June 19, 2023. EMS and medical first responders are no longer required to continuously mask in patient care environments, including ambulances or AHS facilities.
Masking is still recommended in certain instances based on the Infection Prevention and Control risk assessment. This includes when patients present with influenza-like-illness (ILI) symptoms, or when patients are severely immunocompromised. EMS and medical first responders performing aerosol-generating medical procedures (such as airway management, ventilation or chest compressions) should perform proper hand hygiene, and wear eye protection, gloves, gown and a fit-tested N95 respirator.
Connect with us at MFR@ahs.ca with any questions. Thank you for your continued support.
Alberta MFR Program
Please see the email shared with AHS staff on Thursday, June 15.
Continuous Masking Update
Dear staff, physicians and volunteers,
AHS is rescinding the Use of Masks During COVID-19 Directive, effective June 19, 2023. As a result, AHS will no longer require continuous masking at all AHS facilities, including Continuing Care and contracted sites.
This applies to all patients, families, and visitors at AHS facilities, as well as Alberta Precision Laboratories, Covenant Health, CapitalCare, and Carewest sites. It also applies to all AHS and contracted staff, including physicians, midwives, students, volunteers, and contractors.
The decision to rescind the current requirement was made based on several factors, such as declining COVID-19 cases, testing positivity rate, wastewater data and hospital admission rates for respiratory illnesses in Alberta, as well as consultations with stakeholders including patients, families, advisory councils, clinicians and frontline managers.
AHS respects the choice to voluntarily wear a mask in all areas and encourages those who wish to wear a mask to continue to wear one. In addition, patients are encouraged to have conversations with their care providers regarding masking, hand hygiene, or other factors they feel are important to their care.
Any guidance regarding future continuous masking requirements will be based on several factors including, public safety, situational context, data and evidence, hospital impacts and extensive engagement with the workforce and key stakeholders.
Staff are required to continue to use Routine Practices and Additional Precautions as required by the IPC Risk Assessment to make personal protective equipment (PPE) decisions and to prevent the spread of infections. Appropriate PPE will continue to be available in all settings.
For more information, please see the FAQ. We appreciate your patience as we work to update all relevant resources and documents.
AHS is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment. We are extremely grateful to all healthcare workers and would like to thank our key stakeholders, including our union partners and regulators, for their ongoing support.
Thank you for your dedication, adaptability and for all you do for each other and Albertans.
AHS President & CEO
Last Updated: Friday, June 23, 2023