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Northern Health implements visitor restrictions at all facilities

Only essential visits for those who pass screening criteria will be allowed
Northern Health is now only allowing essential visits. (via Getty images)

Northern Health has implemented additional visitor restrictions at its facilities to help control the spread of coronavirus.

The authority says it’s working in partnership with the Ministry of Health and BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) to respond to COVID-19 and, as the situation is evolving quickly, strategies could continue to evolve to keep safe.

Northern Health says it will now allow only essential visits to its facilities.

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

Eligible essential visitors must first pass important screening criteria, meaning they can't show symptoms like coughing, runny nose, fever, sore throat or shortness of breath, and must not have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days.

“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 news release states.

Today (March 23), Northern Health also implemented new guidelines for long-term care facilities.

These measures include:

  • Temporarily suspending interfacility transfers, except in circumstances of intolerable risk, until further notice and ensure clients’ place on the waitlist for transfer is maintained during the suspension of transfers;
  • Prioritizing admissions to Long Term Care from acute care over those from the community where possible;
  • Temporarily suspending all health authority operated/funded Home and Community Care (HCC) adult day programs and;
  • Temporarily suspending the provision of in-facility respite, except in circumstances of intolerable risk.

Northern Health is also recommending only essential visits for these facilities, which includes visits for compassionate care (end of life and critical illness) and visits considered essential to resident care and well-being.