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More visits soon to be allowed in B.C. care homes, but general restrictions to stay until at least summer

Last Updated Mar 2, 2021 at 6:24 pm PDT

(Courtesy Google Maps, Guildford Seniors Village)
Summary

B.C.'s top doctor says some visitor restrictions in long-term care will be lifted this month

But she says most public safety restrictions will stay in place until at least summer

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — B.C.’s top doctor says visiting a loved one in long-term care more often will soon be possible, but don’t expect general public safety orders to ease up before the summer.

As COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the province ramp up, Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence shows us there is a high level of protection “at least in the short term after one dose.” Meaning, the timeline to be able to increase visits to long-term care moves up.

“We expect before the end of this month to be able to increase visits and have families be together with their loved ones in care homes,” she says. “I know this is something that’s important.”

Henry adds the province is focusing on immunizing essential visitors and putting in effort to protect people into long-term care “because we still want to make sure that it’s safe for everybody in those environments.”

“We’ve already thankfully seen increased activities within care homes because we’ve had such a high immunization level in care homes — and for quality of life, that is so important.”

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The spread of COVID-19 variants continues to be a concern as B.C. records 22 more variant cases of COVID-19 since Monday. So the presence of faster-spreading variants means it could be summer before social gatherings are allowed again.

“That is my biggest worry right now, and I’ve said that repeatedly and trying to stop any sort of rapid increase. And we know that once we get into spring, the transmissibility overall will go down a little bit,” Henry says.