In March 2020, we came face to face with one of the biggest challenges in our lifetime, the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic.
Strict restrictions were placed on all long-term care and assisted living communities to protect residents against the deadly virus. This meant immense sacrifices by residents, families and staff to keep residents safe and healthy. The sacrifices, efforts of all and high vaccination rates resulted in the BC Government initiating Phase 3 of the Restart Plan on July 1, 2021. The government is now further relaxing the guidelines for visiting long-term care and assisted living communities.
The following new guidelines will come into effect on July 19, 2021:
- All visitors (including unvaccinated visitors) will no longer need to schedule or book in advance to visit loved ones, and the limit on the number of visitors for each resident will be removed.
- All visitors will be screened at the main entrance and be required to practices hand hygiene, wear a medical face mask and physical distancing when in common areas.
- A new medical face mask will be provided at the entrance to all visitors.
- Fully vaccinated visitors (those who have received their second dose at least 14 days before the visit) can visit with residents without wearing masks when inside the resident’s room away from co-residents.
- Unvaccinated visitors will be required to wear a face mask for the whole duration of their visit, including resident rooms.
- Larger, facility-wide social events or gatherings are safe to begin again.
- Indoor gatherings may include residents and staff across units of a facility (not family/friends),
- Outdoor gatherings may include family and friends and residents and staff across units of a facility.
- Adult day programs and in-facility respite can fully resume, providing additional health and well-being benefits for seniors and caregivers in the community.
The Provincial Health Office has provided additional guidance surrounding vaccinations:
- Public Health strongly recommends that all visitors get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to lower the risk to seniors in long-term care and assisted living settings.
- All long-term care and assisted living facilities provide public health information on residents, staff, personal service providers, and volunteers to determine their vaccination status.
- Workers who are not fully vaccinated will be required to wear a medical mask at work and be tested for COVID-19 regularly using rapid tests (3 times a week) (unless directed otherwise by the health authority).
- Volunteers and personal service providers entering long-term care and assisted living settings must be fully vaccinated.
- Each site will continue to maintain a sign-in list for contact tracing purposes and actively promote adherence to all infection prevention and control protocols.
When being screened, you will be asked to show proof of receiving two COVID vaccines. This can be done either by showing your vaccination record card or your digital immunization card through Health Gateway.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we continue to work through these changes. We are looking forward to seeing and welcoming family back to the communities on a more regular basis.