The IWK Health Centre and the Nova Scotia Health Authority are increasing visitor restrictions to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The children’s hospital says no general visitors will be permitted to enter the IWK, however, one support person is permitted for pediatric patients and one support person is permitted for women in labour.
The same policy applies for patients at NSHA hospitals.
“Multiple people waiting in hallways, family rooms or waiting rooms is not acceptable given requirements to social distance,” the NSHA stated in a press release on Wednesday.
However, in the case of pediatric patients, an exception may be considered for two parents in consultation with their care team.
The IWK and NSHA say the decision is to “protect the health of patients and staff and ensure continued safe care delivery.”
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“As we work to keep our patients, family and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic we need to take all precautions available,” said Dr. Krista Jangaard, president and CEO of the IWK, in a statement.
“We understand the difficulty that this creates for our families, however preventing the possibility of spread of this virus within the health centre which could have significant implications is paramount. We hope the public understands this,” she added.
During this time, NSHA stated that all mental health and addictions group-based therapies and group programming will be paused.
However, urgent and non-urgent one-to-one outpatient clinics will continue.
Patients will also have the choice to move their in-person sessions to take place over the phone, where appropriate, or through a secure video conferencing platform, where available.
NSHA noted that the Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis or someone concerned about them, by calling toll-free 1-888-429-8167.
Kids Help Phone is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free).