Vancouver Coastal Health restricting visitors at its facilities

With the continuing spread of COVID-19 in B.C., Vancouver Coastal Health says it's now restricting visitors to essential visits only at all of its facilities such as hospitals, long-term care, assisted living sites, community health centres and clinics.

The organization said in a written statement Monday essential visits include compassionate care (end of life, critical illness) and visits paramount to patient/client/resident care and well-being, such as assistance with feeding or mobility. It said existing registered volunteers providing these services can continue to do so.  

The statement said visitors who are unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms cannot visit patients, residents or clients in any VCH facility.

On Saturday, VCH announced additional protections for long-term care residents, such as temporarily suspending inter-facility transfers and cancelling adult day programs until further notice.

VCH medical health officer Dr. Althea Hayden also issued a public health order which prohibits long-term care staff and volunteers (with the exception of physicians, paramedics and laboratory technicians) from working at more than one health-care facility and requires facilities to carry out enhanced cleaning of facilities and enhanced screening of staff, contractors and visitors and to adhere to higher standards for notification of cold and flu-like illnesses.

Vancouver Coastal Health says it's working in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) to respond to COVID-19. 

There have been 13 COVID-19-related deaths in B.C.