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Visitation restrictions in B.C. long-term care homes could ease by mid-March: province

Click to play video: 'Challenging visitation rules in B.C. long-term care homes' Challenging visitation rules in B.C. long-term care homes
B.C. health officials say it could still be months before visitor restrictions are eased in long-term care homes, despite the vaccine rollout – Jan 19, 2021

The B.C. government says restrictions around long-term care homes could last until mid-March.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday she is waiting until residents and staff in the homes get their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Henry said she hopes that happens in the next two months.

Nearly all residents and staff in Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health have already received their first shot, Henry confirmed, but a lot of people outside the Lower Mainland are still waiting.

Read more: B.C. records 1,330 new cases of COVID-19 but single-day count falls to lowest in 11 weeks

Click to play video: 'Two major health regions announce most LTC facilities have received first vaccinations' Two major health regions announce most LTC facilities have received first vaccinations
Two major health regions announce most LTC facilities have received first vaccinations – Jan 18, 2021

“After the second dose, we know we are at maximum protections about seven days after dose two,” Henry said Monday. “So that’s what we’re aiming for. We are going to be watching very carefully because we know that some people are still getting sick with COVID-19 even after being immunized because they were exposed before the vaccine could have that protective effect.”

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B.C.’s seniors’ advocate, Isobel Mackenzie, told Global News Tuesday that in the interim period before every resident and staff member can be fully vaccinated, they still have to think about the issue of essential visitors.

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“Most residents should have an essential visitor and that the tools will be in place for family members to ask for (the vaccine) if that is what they want and an appeal process to the health authority if that designation has been denied to them,” Mackenzie said.

She added that it is important for residents in long-term care to still be able to have visitors while they wait for everyone to get the vaccine.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 hospital outbreak in Williams Lake' COVID-19 hospital outbreak in Williams Lake
COVID-19 hospital outbreak in Williams Lake – Jan 19, 2021

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