Island Health facilities will only be open for essential visits. (Black Press Media file photo)

Island Health facilities now only open for essential visits

Visits allowed for critically ill, those in end-of-life care or those that need escorts

As the COVID-19 situation evolves quickly, Island Health has made the decision to allow only essential visits to its facilities.

The decision by the Island’s health authority has been made to support the provincial health officer’s directions around social distancing and to protect residents, patients and staff from the transmission of COVID-19.

Essential visits will be considered for patients who are critically ill, receiving end-of-life care or who are frail and need an escort or family member for safety.

Visitors who are eligible must pass important screening criteria, meaning they cannot have a cough, runny nose, fever, sore throat or shortness of breath and they cannot have travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days.

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“We understand the importance of visits from family and loved ones to our patients and long-term care residents and we appreciate your understanding and support in helping to keep everyone safe,” a statement from Island Health says.

The health authority is also working with the Ministry of Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control to respond to COVID-19. In a statement, Island Health reinforces the importance of avoiding gatherings to limit the spread of the virus.

“We know that it can be difficult and disappointing to cancel special events and not have contact with family and friends outside your home,” the statement says. “However, this is a critically important way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect your friends, family and neighbours, as well as our health care system at this challenging time.”

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Social distancing does not mean total isolation and the statement notes that those who do not have symptoms can enjoy the outdoors and activities that do not bring them into contact with people from outside the home.

“Enjoy social activities with people in your household and connect with friends and family from a distance via social media or the telephone,” the statement says. “You can also take an online course, complete projects at home or take advantage of the many online resources being made available free of charge by museums and performing arts organizations.”

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


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