B.C. set to ease restrictions on long-term care home visits

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, announces eased restrictions on long-term care home visits. || B.C. government photo
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Restrictions on long-term care homes visits will be eased in B.C. on July 19. Visitors will no longer have to schedule to see loved ones and the limit on visitors for each resident will be removed, according to the province. 

“The pandemic has challenged people living and working in long-term care in ways we never could have imagined, but we are now finally in a place where people can safely spend more time together again,” said Adrian Dix, minister of health.

Fully vaccinated visitors will not be required to wear a mask and facility-wide gatherings are set to begin again. Social events will also be able to include family and friends, when held outdoors.

“After an incredibly challenging 18 months, it is uplifting to see people in long-term care and assisted living get back to doing more of the things they love, like gathering with friends, family, and community members,” said Mable Elmore, parliamentary secretary for seniors services and long-term care.

The screening of visitors and practices such as hand hygiene, use of medical masks and physical distancing will remain in place when visitation restrictions are eased, according to the province.

All long-term care and seniors’ assisted living facilities will need to provide the province with information on all residents, staff, personal service providers and volunteers so their immunization status can be determined. Workers who are not fully vaccinated will have to wear a mask at work and be tested for COVID-19 regularly.

All volunteers and personal service providers entering long-term care homes must be fully vaccinated, the province said. Visitors who are not fully vaccinated will have to where a mask— those who are will still have to in common areas. 

“While vital for reducing the spread of COVID-19, we recognize the restrictions on visitors have been incredibly challenging for people in long-term care and their families,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer. “Because nearly 80 per cent of people in B.C. have stepped up to be vaccinated, we are now in a place where visitation in long-term care can resume in a more normal way.”

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