In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Northern Health is limiting the number of visitors allowed at its facilities, including G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital in Quesnel, effective March 18. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer file photo)

COVID-19: Northern Health limiting visitors at facilities until further notice

As of Monday, the health authority is also postponing non-urgent surgeries

Along with postponing non-urgent surgeries, Northern Health is now implementing visitor restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To keep our patients, families and staff safe and in keeping with the provincial health officer’s recommendations for social distancing, Northern Health is limiting the number of visitors entering our buildings, effective immediately,” according to an information bulletin sent out Tuesday afternoon (March 17).

Until further notice, the following visitor restrictions are in place at Northern Health facilities:

• Hospital Emergency Departments, Intensive Care/Critical Care areas: one adult caregiver/support person

• Perinatal Unit: one adult caregiver/support person

• Neonatal ICU: two adult caregivers/support persons

• Inpatient Pediatric and Adult Areas (with routine precautions in place): one adult caregivers/support persons

• Inpatient Areas (additional precautions in place): one adult caregiver/support person

• Primary and Urgent Care: one adult caregiver/support person

• Palliative/end of life: Northern Health says it will accommodate patient and family needs and consult with infection prevention and control

• Outpatient Clinics: one adult caregiver/support person

• Primary and Urgent Care: one adult caregiver/support person

• Long-term care homes: one adult caregivers/support persons

Northern Health also says no visitor who is unwell with fever, cough, runny/stuffy nose, sore throat and/or diarrhea my visit any of the above facilities.

Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has been in contact with a person infected with COVID-19 during the previous 14 days must not visit patients/residents in any Northern Health facility or long-term care facility.

Patient navigators will be put in place at entrances of all facilities to ensure visitors are aware of the restrictions.

“We understand the importance of visits from family and loved ones to our patients and long-term care residents, and we appreciate your support in helping to keep everyone safe,” states Northern Health.

Northern Health advises area residents that the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control is the recommended resource for provincial information that is accurate and current. Information is being updated frequently online at bccdc.ca, and individuals are encouraged to check back regularly.

Additionally, to ensure the B.C. health care system is best positioned to respond to COVID-19, the province’s health authorities have been directed to move all hospitals in the province to Outbreak Response Phase 2, as of Monday, March 16.

“This means hospitals will undertake only urgent and emergency procedures and will postpone all non-urgent scheduled surgeries,” according to Northern Health. “Northern Health hospitals will review operating-room capacity daily to prioritize urgent and emergency cases.

“The cancellation of non-urgent (elective) scheduled surgeries will be implemented over the coming days. Our first steps will include a reduction in non-urgent procedures performed at all sites and scheduling of urgent procedures in place of postponed elective surgeries.”

Northern Health says affected patients with upcoming scheduled, elective (non-urgent) procedures or who are awaiting urgent procedures will be contacted in coming days about their procedures.

“These measures will assist our hospitals to redeploy and train essential service health care providers on critical care related to COVID-19, to ensure sufficient medical supplies for patients and staff who need them most, and to further increase capacity to respond to the potential for a surge of COVID-19 patients requiring acute care,” according to Northern Health’s information bulletin.

READ MORE: B.C. hospitals start cancelling elective surgeries in COVID-19 preparations



editor@quesnelobserver.com

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