Seniors with declining cognitive abilities, but still healthy enough to live on their own, may be at risk of COVID-19 infection from irresponsible community members, says a Blackfalds woman.
The resident, who did not want to be identified, said her 83-year-old grandfather has borderline dementia and is vulnerable to people who don’t follow the necessary safety precautions.
“He does not have the capacity to fully understand what is going on. He doesn’t understand you don’t have to look sick to be sick,” said the woman about her grandfather, who lives in his own home in a small central Alberta community.
“He’s not understanding social distancing.”
She said one of her grandfather’s neighbours, who was supposed to be in self-isolation after returning to Canada, visited her grandfather even though there was a sign on the front door warning people to stay away.
“We have these rules in place for seniors in facilities, but the seniors outside those facilities need to be protected as well. There is just a gap in protecting our seniors.”
She hopes fines for violating COVID-19 public health orders that the province is putting in place will be enough to discourage people from spreading the virus to susceptible seniors.
“I shouldn’t have to force him to live in a facility because there are people out there who are irresponsible.”
On Wednesday, the province announced $1,000 fines for those who violate the following COVID-19 public health orders:
- Any individual who has travelled outside of Canada must go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from their return, plus an additional 10 days from the onset of any symptoms should they occur, whichever is longer.
- Any individual who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the start of their symptoms, or until the symptoms resolve, whichever is longer. Symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or a sore throat.
- Any individual who has been identified as a close contact of a person with COVID-19 must go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from the date of last having been exposed to COVID-19, plus an additional 10 days from the onset of any symptoms should they occur, whichever is longer.
- Mass gatherings must be limited to no more than 50 attendees.
- Access to public recreational facilities, private entertainment facilities, bars and nightclubs is prohibited.
- Visitation to long-term care and other continuing care facilities is limited to essential visitors only.
Courts also have the power to administer fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence, and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations.