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CASS Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

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CASS Senior Leadership is closely monitoring the situation with respect to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic and following the recommendations of Alberta Health Services, Health Canada, and the World Health Organization.

While the risk in Alberta remains low at this time, the risk is rising and the situation is very fluid. CASS is taking significant measures to ensure the safety of all clients and staff and to slow the potential transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in order to reduce the strain on our health care systems and promote the wellbeing of all Calgarians.

April 2nd Update:

On April 1st the Government of Alberta provided an update to indicate that the daycare spaces that were opened up for AHS staff and first responders have had their eligibility expanded to include all staff that fall under the recently defined list of Essential Services. If CASS staff require child care, you are encouraged to learn more about this opportunity by viewing the Government of Alberta's web page about expanded child care spaces for essential services.

March 31st Update:

The CASS Senior Leadership continues to meet regularly. In addition to meeting with eachother, we are also in regular contact with our funders, and participating in a weekly zoom meeting with the Service Provider Council, and a meeting every other week with Assistant Deputy Ministers John Stinson and Jason Chance.

On March 30th the Government of Alberta published its list of Essential Services which includes disability support staff. This is an important development in the event the government moves to any make further restrictions.

The Government of Alberta also announced that all gatherings of 15 people or more were banned excluding certain essential services such as grocery stores, airports etc.

Last week the Government of Alberta announced new requirements for all licensed homes. CASS Overnight Staffed Residences are not licensed as they do not have 4 or more individuals living in them, however, CASS will be incorporating many of the requirements that were imposed on licensed homes for our Overnight Staffed Residences.

Enhancing Sanitation Measures

All CASS worksites (the CASS Main Office, Creative Community Living Activities, Stepping Stone Manor, Langin Place and our Overnight Staffed Residences) have all had their existing sanitization measures significantly enhanced in order to reduce the threat of transmission. All touch surfaces are being sanitized regularly.

We have also secured an adequate supply of personal protective equipment, cleaning, and sanitizing products to ensure that the needs of all of our worksites are adequately addressed.

Promoting Good Hygiene

As always, everyone is encouraged to ensure that they are practicing excellent hygiene including:

  • frequent handwashing
  • avoiding touching your face
  • coughing and sneezing into your elbow or a tissue
  • limiting physical contact (no hugs or handshakes)
  • If you are wondering if you should be tested for covid19, please use the web-based assessment tool provided by AHS which is available at the following URL: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Journey/COVID-19/Pages/COVID-Self-Assessment.aspx
  • Contact your primary health provider or Health Link 811 if you have questions or concerns about your health.

Read more about best practices regarding hygiene, and sanitization here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks.html

CASS staff have been instructed not to attend any CASS work site if they are not feeling well and instruction has been provided on how to address the potential need for self-isolation.

In the interests of helping CASS to coordinate our staffing needs and service delivery, we are requesting that clients and staff inform their supervisor(s)/coordinator(s) if they have recently travelled outside of Canada, have plans to travel outside of Canada in the next month, or if they have reason to believe that they have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19.

March 27th Update: All CASS staff have been assigned 'Infection Prevention and Control' as mandatory training.

Modifications to CASS Operations

March 27th Update:

  • Effective April 1st the CASS Main Office is closed to all guests and staff excluding the CASS Senior Leadership Team and administrative staff. Senior Leadership and admin staff are encouraged to work from home to the extent that they are able to but may work from the CASS Main Office as required.
  • Incoming calls will be addressed by our auto-attendant. CASS Main Office staff remain available via the main office phone extensions via call routing.

Effective March 13th 2020, modifications were made across all program areas.

A hiring freeze for all external applicants has been put in place. CASS will will still engage in internal hiring/transfers but at this time external applicants are not being considered due to an inability to provide required training. Exceptions will only be considered in cases where external applicants come with all required training.

At this time, all CASS programs remain operational, albeit with modifications to operations. Some of these modifications have resulted in freeing up staff so that they can be re-assigned to other program areas in order to ensure continuity of critical services. Thank you to our excellent staff for their dedication to maintaining the essential supports that we provide to clients of CASS.

Program-specific details regarding modified operations have been communicated to staff and clients in those programs.

CASS is also suspending all non-essential gatherings until further notice including but not limited to:

  • All on-site training (CPI, Abuse Awareness Training, Challenging Behaviours II, Med Admin Proficiency, Mental Health First Aid, All in-person CAPSH training)
  • Dinner Club
  • CADO Art Class
  • Emotion Commotion Workshops
  • CAES Employment Preparedness Workshops
  • Money Matters Financial Literacy Workshops
  • Spinz-A-Round Food Distribution Program
  • CASS Advisory Committee
  • Friendships and Dating Workshops
  • All client initiated sales or gatherings at CASS worksites
  • All In-Person Committee Meetings (remote meetings can proceed as required)

In addition to the above, wherever possible, staff are being encouraged to work from home, and to meet with clients, staff, and others remotely (over the phone or via remote meeting software) rather than in person. See communications from your respective Director(s) if you are unsure if this applies to you.

Staff that operate out of the CASS Main Office remain accessible via their phone extensions and CASS reception.

CASS Administration

CASS administrative operations remain fully functional at this time.

Administration staff are being asked to work from home where possible, but may work from the CASS Main Office as required.

CASS finance will be mailing all Expense Claim cheques and will not be holding any cheques for pickup in order to reduce the need for staff to come to the CASS Main Office.

Additional Resources

Please see the resources below from Alberta Health Services (AHS), the Government of Alberta (GoA), the Government of Canada (GoC), and other resoruces.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the CASS Senior Leadership Team by sending an email to cass@c-a-s-s.org.

Thank you for your support.

Stay safe and healthy everyone.