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Visits to B.C. Interior Health hospitals, care facilities restricted by COVID-19 concerns

File photo: All Interior Health facilities have new visitor restrictions in place as of March 23rd. Global News

In response to the provincial state of emergency over the novel coronavirus, restrictions have been placed on who can enter all Interior Health (IHA) facilities as of 5 p.m. on March 23.

Only essential visits to hospitals and care facilities will be allowed, according to a notice IHA sent to media.

“This decision supports the province-wide response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and reflects the provincial state of emergency,” the notice states. “The restriction of visits will help keep our patients, individuals in care, families and health-care workers safe. It also aligns with the Provincial Health Officer’s recommendations for social distancing.”

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An essential visit is considered one for compassionate care during end of life or critical illness and visits paramount to patient/client care and well-being.

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IHA is asking that the same support person or caregiver should attend each essential visit wherever possible.

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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 everyone’s support in keeping our patients, families, and health-care workers safe.”

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Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 during the previous 14 days must not visit patients/residents in IHA facilities. That also applies if you’ve been in contact with a person infected with COVID-19.

Those who have travelled outside of Canada in the previous 14 days are also restricted from entering an IHA facility.

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If you’ve experienced fever, cough, runny/stuffy nose, sore throat and/or diarrhea, you are also asked to stay away.

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“Patient navigators will be at entrances of all facilities to ensure visitors are aware of the new restrictions.”

Current COVID-19 information for British Columbians can also be found at the BCCDC website.