B.C. allowing visitors in long-term care homes, assisted living facilities again

Adrian Dix wearing a suit and tie Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said 26 people in B.C. tested positive for COVID-19 on the weekend but no deaths were recorded

Adrian Dix wearing a suit and tie Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said 26 people in B.C. tested positive for COVID-19 on the weekend but no deaths were recorded

British Columbia's health officials have chose to allow visitors to long-term care homes and assisted living facilities under strict province-wide guidelines.

Officials said they approached the easing of care home restrictions with great caution, but that a number of factors have given them confidence that they can pull it off safely. "The additional staff will also work to schedule visits and make sure visitors do not enter the facility if they are sick".

Officials said the process will be gradual, beginning with each senior being allowed a single designated visitor who will meet them in a designated visiting area at their care home.

Visitors must wear a mask and visitations must be booked in advanced. Personal service providers, including barbers and hairstylists, will be allowed to come into both types of facilities, but must submit a safety plan that is based on WorkSafeBC guidelines.

"As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has put us all the test, and this has been particularly the case with our elders and seniors in care", Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said. "Understanding this, we had to move quickly and decisively to protect our most vulnerable citizens".

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"Despite our efforts, families have lost mothers, fathers, and grandparents every day".

There are now 18 people in hospital with COVID-19, 11 in the Fraser Health region and seven in the Vancouver Coastal region, with five of those in critical care. More than half are linked to care homes, the largest source of cases in the province.

There are now four active outbreaks at B.C. long-term and acute care facilities, while 36 others have been declared over. "But I think the other really, really important thing that we need to remember is that you should not be travelling if you are ill".

Henry said visits will initially be limited to one person.

Of the 174 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in B.C., 122 have been residents of long-term living or acute care facilities. "It may take some facilities a week or 10 days to get all provisions in place but I know they are working on it and it will happen", she said. "It is fundamental to stopping the spread of COVID-19". "What we do need is people to be fastidious about checking for symptoms".

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