UPDATE: Doors opening at long term care homes and churches in B.C. | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: Doors opening at long term care homes and churches in B.C.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/BC Government
March 25, 2021 - 2:02 PM

People who have not seen their loved ones in long term care for the past year because of COVID-19 bans on visits will be able to start visiting again on April 1.

That change was announced by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry at a news briefing today, March 25.

“I think this is an incredibly positive step,” she said, but with a warning. “The reality is that it is likely we are going to have outbreaks in more care homes now that we are allowing more people to come into those care homes but we’re at the point where the benefits of having those social connections and interactions outweigh the risks.”

Most residents in long term care homes have been vaccinated so that greatly limits the chance of outbreaks or widespread infections if there are.

There are currently outbreaks in three B.C. care homes.

There will be some restrictions for the visits. While any family member or friend can visit, only two adults and one child can visit at any one time.

Visits are allowed in residents’ rooms and can be for an hour.

Face masks still need to be worn by visitors but touching is allowed.

Rules requiring physical distancing between residents are being removed so they will be able to have communal meals with fellow residents and some small social gatherings.

Residents will be able to go on outings without having to isolate when they return. New residents also won’t have to isolate and vaccinations for those moving into care homes will be ramped up.

Dr. Henry said she hopes to ease restrictions further by the end of June.

From March 28 to May 13, limited and carefully managed indoor church services will be allowed in recognition of various religions celebrations coming up in the next few weeks, Dr. Henry said.

Each faith will be allowed to have services on four days only from March 28 to May 13.

A maximum 50 people can attend each service, or 10 per cent of the church’s capacity, whichever is less.

There is no limit on how long each service can be but, if there is more than one service in a single day, there has to be time between each service to make sure groups of people don’t mix, Dr. Henry said.

Those rules may be eased after May 13 if things go well but they can be reviewed at any time before then.

 - This story was updated at 2:09 p.m., March 25, 2021 to add more information about church services.

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