Family groups are to be allowed to visit seniors in B.C. long-term care facilities as of March 18, but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry urged patience as senior home managers adjust to the change in COVID-19 restrictions.
Appointments will still be needed to limit the number of visitors, who will still require showing proof of vaccination and take a rapid test before visiting loved ones. Face coverings for public indoor spaces, which Henry declared optional, will still be required for care homes, hospitals and other health care facilities.
The current rule for senior homes is to allow one essential visitor and one designated social visitor for each care home resident, by appointment so greeters can check vaccine cards and administer rapid antigen tests. Henry said some facilities may be able to open up visitation sooner.
“So what I’m asking for is patience,” Henry said at a briefing from Victoria March 10. “Over the coming week, all of the care home operators will communicate with families around their plans for resuming broader social visitation.”
Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the change Thursday, March 10, along with immediate removal of restrictions for religious gatherings and children’s camps. Masks in public schools will move from mandatory to optional after spring break, with all of the relaxed rules depending on continued decline in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.