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Some restrictions lifted for vaccinated long term care visitors

(Files by Dione Wearmouth-MyPGNow)

Anyone looking to visit a friend or family member in a long-term or assisted living care facility can expect some changes to the rules.

Beginning on July 19th, some visitor restrictions are being lifted as there are no active COVID-19 outbreaks at any health care facilities in BC.

The following changes will be made to long term care visitation on July 19th:

  • Scheduling a visit is no longer necessary but a sign-in sheet will still be required
  • Fully immunized visitors no longer need to wear a mask in some areas
  • The limit on the number of visitors for each resident will be removed
  • Adult Day programs will fully resume
  • Facility wide social events and gatherings may resume, outdoor gatherings can include family and friends while indoor gatherings only allow staff and residents

However, all visitors are expected to be vaccinated before visiting, according to Dr.Bonnie Henry.

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Care homes are expected to have specific visiting hours throughout the day and will have visitor screening throughout the day.

“Visitors will be asked to provide proof of immunization when they’ve arrived at a facility,” explained Dr.Henry, “and they will continue to wear a medical mask when in common areas.”

However, infection prevention measures don’t need to be followed when visitation occurs inside the resident’s private room.

“For those who are not fully immunized or who are unable or unwilling to provide proof of vaccination, the precautions that we have in place now will continue,” added Henry.

Staff will be expected to be fully immunized and, if not, they must keep following protocols to keep wearing masks and getting tested 3 times a week.

Henry said the decision to limit care home visitation in the early days of the pandemic was extremely difficult, but since the vast majority of seniors in care, as well as care workers, are vaccinated, they’re now able to ease the restrictions.

This comes as there are no active health care outbreaks in BC, after the outbreak at Rotary Manor in Dawson Creek was declared over.

78.4% of eligible people 12+ have received their first dose of a vaccine and 40.0% received their second dose.

This comes as the province saw 59 new cases in BC, two of which were found in the North as the region now has 30 active cases.

“Today, the vast majority of seniors in care and residents and workers are vaccinated,  and we can see that light at the end of the tunnel,” Henry added.

BREAKDOWN BY REGION:

Northern Health: + 2  (7,808)

Interior Health: +19 (13,273)

Fraser Health: +21 (85,930)

Vancouver Coastal Health: +10 (35,556)

Island Health: +7 (5,174)

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