Some Albertans have been showing their appreciation for health-care workers by dropping off donations of food. But those donations won’t be accepted anymore, Alberta Health Services said.
In a series of tweets Wednesday, AHS explained “the risk is just too great right now” and “no AHS staff member may accept or serve any external, non-AHS sourced food, to patients or staff.”
On Wednesday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the province’s total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 had increased by 61 compared to a day earlier, bringing the total to 419.
Of those, 33 are believed to be community transmissions.
“During this global pandemic, coming together to help and support one another is of upmost importance,” AHS wrote on Twitter.
“We greatly appreciate the hundreds of offers from Albertans to lend a hand to our health-care staff and the patients in our care, including the donation or supply of food.
“Although we greatly appreciate this act of kindness, we must protect the health and well-being of our staff, volunteers and patients and no AHS staff member may accept or serve any external, non-AHS sourced food, to patients or staff.”
“This is to ensure the food we serve meets AHS standards and will help patients heal,” AHS spokesperson Erin Lawrence added in an email to Global News.
“AHS Nutrition and Food Services (NFS) Patient Food Services and Retail Food Services operations must not handle or serve food from unapproved sources,” she explained.
“We love that you want to give our staff donuts and goodies. We agree — they deserve it! But, the risk is just too great right now. Following these guidelines will help to ensure we limit the spread of COVID-19,” AHS said.
Lawrence instead directed those who want to offer support to the Alberta Emergency Management Agency website. On the offers page, you can detail what kind of support you’d like to give: equipment, supplies, or food and water.
Several local businesses had also been dropping off food — like pizzas — for front-line workers to say thank you.
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health said even at home, families can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by not sharing bowls of snacks and food, cups, glasses and utensils.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw noted that a number of people who contracted COVID-19 at an Edmonton curling bonspiel earlier this month are believed to have caught the illness at a buffet related to the event.
Hinshaw told reporters that she spoke with a number of the province’s faith-based leaders about major religious events like Easter and Ramadan approaching. She said she emphasized that now is not the time for people to take part in family reunions, travel or to host large family dinners.
The government also announced Wednesday it amended the Procedures Regulation, under the Provincial Offences Procedures Act, to empower law enforcement officers like community peace officers and police officers to issue tickets to enforce public health orders.
Earlier in the pandemic, Hinshaw encouraged Albertans to share positive stories of community strength and support using the hashtag #AlbertaCares.
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