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Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie, Ont., eases visitor restrictions amid COVID-19

The hospital says a surge in coronavirus cases in the community or at the health centre could result in suspending visitation. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

The Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie, Ont., is easing visitor restrictions as most of Ontario continues into its third phase of reopening amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Visiting restrictions, except for compassionate reasons, were implemented in mid-March to limit non-essential entry into the hospital amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more: Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie, Ont., ramps up surgeries paused due to COVID-19

“People have understood that visitor restrictions were an important safety precaution to take during the pandemic, but we recognize the separation was very difficult for patients and their loved ones,” said Nancy Savage, executive vice-president of patient and family experience at RVH, in a statement.

“Visitors are vital to patients’ well-being and recovery and are integral members of the care team. RVH is thrilled that we are now able to begin gradually lifting visitor restrictions.”

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Resuming visitation at RVH will be a phased approach. The hospital says strict infection control measures will remain in place.

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In the first phase of the hospital’s visitation plan, patients will be permitted to have one visitor, once a week, for one hour during a specific, pre-booked time.

Read more: Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre extends hours for drive-thru COVID-19 screening clinic

To ensure physical distancing, visits must be staggered for patients who are sharing a room. RVH says visitors must maintain a two-metre distance between patients and members of the care team.

Visitors will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms when entering RVH. The hospital is also requiring people to bring and wear a clean mask, practise hand-washing, wear PPE if required, and maintain physical distance.

RVH says exceptions to its new visitor’s policy will be made for “compassionate reasons,” including for critical or palliative patients, patients who need a family caregiver, partners of patients in labour, parents of pediatric patients, or other situations at the discretion of the care team.

The hospital says a surge in coronavirus cases in the community or at the health centre could result in suspending visits.

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