In light of growing concerns around COVID-19, I wanted to provide you with an update on the YMCA of Medicine Hat’s response to date and our commitment to you moving forward. The health, safety and well-being of our employees, volunteers and child care participants is the YMCA’s top priority and we are following the lead of Alberta Health Services / Government of Alberta at this important time. We are committed to providing your children with safe and welcoming experiences at our Child Development Centres and our Before & After School Care Programs.
First and foremost, I want to assure members that we are taking all appropriate measures to ensure our programs and facilities are safe. We also have existing plans, policies and procedures in place to ensure they stay that way. While Alberta Health Services has not confirmed any COVID-19 cases in Medicine Hat, we continue to monitor the situation for developments and/or new recommendations very closely. Given how quickly information is changing, we know that our response must be able to quickly adapt to new information as it becomes available. We are committed to communicating any changes to YMCA of Medicine Hat programs/services as soon as they are available through email and on our social media accounts.
For up-to-date information on COVID-19 please go to this website: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx#p22780s5
YMCA of Medicine Hat Child Care Programs have already implemented additional measures to ensure your safety as well as the safety of our team, including:
- Confirming the disinfectants used in our programs are safe and effective – they have been reviewed by the Public Health Inspector
- Introducing enhanced cleaning protocols in all of our locations, with particular focus on high traffic and high contact areas
- Ensuring children practice good hygiene (hand washing, etc.)
- Ensuring children do not share food or personal items
- Proactively taking temperatures using non-touch thermometers to identify children who are ill (note: a fever could be a symptom of a number of different illnesses and our goal with this is to prevent the spread of ANY illness)
- Following Government of Alberta Child Care Licensing Regulations when a fever (or other illness) is identified
- Increasing communications and reminders with employees and children on the importance of the public health prevention measures:
- Frequent hand washing. Wash hands with soap and water, or alcohol based hand sanitizer after all activities, but in particular after:
- blowing your nose,
- using the washroom or changing diapers,
- before preparing food or eating.
- Cough/Sneeze Etiquette: Cover your mouth and nose while sneezing and coughing. If into a tissue, dispose of the tissue right away. Wash your hands. Sneeze into an elbow.
- Avoid touching your face: This virus enters the body via mouth, nose or eyes. People should avoid touching their face as much as possible.
- Staying home if ill: Staying home when actively ill (e.g. Fever, active coughing/sneezing, shortness of breath) can help limit the spread of infection. This applies to our staff, volunteers and members.
- Environmental Cleaning: The virus can survive on hard surfaces up to 48 hours. Use disinfectant to clean, especially high contact areas. All members are asked to disinfect fitness equipment before and after use.
- Containment/Isolation: Sometimes containment measures such as isolation and monitoring may be required. If you a have travelled outside of Canada, Alberta Health Services recommends self-isolation for two weeks from the date of return (even if feeling well). For additional information on self-isolation, please go to their website: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx#p22780s5
- Contact Health Link 811: if you have symptoms such as cough or fever.
Our programs remain open until we are given direction otherwise from Alberta Health Services, the Government of Alberta and/or the Medicine Hat Public School Division. In the event of any program closures, we will work with families to ensure fees are waived once business returns to normal.
Thank you and we look forward to seeing your children soon,
Sharon Hayward MSW, RSW