Visitors will now be allowed at long-term care homes in BC, health officials announced on Tuesday.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry made the announcement during a press conference, noting that “we are going to start slowly.”
To begin with, “residents will be able to have a single designated visitor, in a designated visiting area in each facility” said Henry. “As we expect things will progress well, we will expand these activities, as we have done with every other activity, and we will be monitoring this on an ongoing basis to ensure we can expand as soon as it is safe to do so.”
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Henry said province-wide requirements have been put in place, outlining “how facilities can allow visitors in long-term care and seniors assisted living residences.”
Like many other businesses that have already reopened, she continued, “these facilities will need to have plans and precautions in place.”
Among these precautions are the stipulations that visitors still won’t be allowed at any facility in the midst of an outbreak, and there will be dedicated staff to screen everybody who enters the facility and “provide the guidance that’s needed to ensure that visitors are able to do [so] safely.”
Henry said all visitors “must bring – and appropriately wear – a mask, and they’ll be trained on how to do that after their screening upon entry.”
Visits will also need to be “booked in advance to ensure the spaces are appropriate,” she said.
The reopening will also allow personal service providers like hairdressers to enter these facilities to work with their clients. However, these types of visitors will also have to complete a safety plan “that’s aligned with WorkSafeBC’s guidance and provided to the facilities,” said Henry.
In light of Tuesday’s announcement and the impending openings, Henry said, “Of course, we’re all a little anxious, because we know what can happen if we don’t get this right.”
However, “moving thoughtfully and with care will give us the confidence that we need to move forward,” she said.
More to come…