IWK relaxes COVID-19 restrictions, visitors remain prohibited

IWK Health Centre
Several staff members at the IWK Health Centre have been directed to self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19 due to exposure within the hospital. . Alexa MacLean/Global Halifax

In a Friday update to its patient and visitor restrictions, Halifax’s IWK hospital relaxed COVID-19 restrictions at the facility.

On March 18, the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK said no visitors were permitted in any of their hospitals due to COVID-19 concerns.

Visitors will remain banned with the restriction applying to people wanting to attend any appointments with adult patients, including ultrasounds.

How the pandemic is impacting pregnancies
How the pandemic is impacting pregnancies

However, the IWK will now allow one support person to accompany a patient to pediatric appointments, day surgery or in the recovery room, the emergency department and early labour assessment.

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Two support people are allowed to visit pediatric inpatients and a patient in labour.

The supporting pair during labour may not rotate or change during the labour process and if a person leaves, they will not be allowed to re-enter.

READ MORE: IWK Health Centre, NSHA introduce ‘no visitors’ policy amid coronavirus pandemic

According to a press release, the hospital may allow additional support in some circumstances, and if it is safe to do so.

For patients in ultrasound appointments, virtual ways to connect can be organized.

“The needs of patients and families are always at the heart of our decision making,” says the press release.

The hospital will conduct screening at the two operating entrances on South St. and University Ave.

Effective Monday, May 25, the hospital will begin “a phased approach to some of its services,” according to a Thursday release.

READ MORE: IWK staff self-isolating, Aberdeen Hospital halts surgeries after COVID-19 exposures

First in line to have their rescheduled surgeries will be those whose surgeries can be completed within a day and require short inpatient stay.

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The hospital also says some areas and departments allow for social distancing better than others, and staff will take that into consideration.