COVID-19 information for long-term care & assisted living
Information on visitation guidelines and facility outbreaks.
Latest news – Oct. 3, 2023
With the start of fall, we can expect an increase in transmission of respiratory illnesses such as influenza, RSV, COVID-19 and cold viruses. To help protect the most vulnerable in our population, and to lessen the impact on all of you and our health-care system, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has announced new guidance ahead of respiratory illness season.
See the announcement at news.gov.bc.ca.
Provincial mask policy
Effective immediately, medical masks must be worn by all staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors in all public areas of long-term care and assisted living facilities, but visitors may remove them when visiting with residents in their rooms.
The policy does not apply to residents, and there are also exceptions for:
- Children under five years old
- People unable to wear a mask because of a health condition or physical or mental impairment
- People unable to put on or remove a mask without help from another person
- People communicating with someone with a hearing or cognitive impairment or in other circumstances where mask-wearing interferes with care delivery
Ambassadors are in place at the main entrance of care homes to welcome people, support screening for symptoms of respiratory illnesses, hand out medical masks, and request people clean their hands before entering.
There are no other changes to existing policies and guidelines for visitors. There are no new limits on the number of visitors, proof of vaccination is not required, and visitors are not required to test prior to visiting.
As always, if a visitor feels unwell, we ask that they return at a later date when they feel better.
VCH Public Health conducts ongoing disease surveillance for long-term care and assisted living homes in our region. Infectious disease outbreaks (e.g. C. difficile, norovirus, influenza, COVID-19) can occur when infected people — including patients, staff, volunteers, contracted workers and visitors — come to our facilities and infect others.
Under current provincial Public Health guidance, we have excellent baseline infection control and Public Health resources to reduce the risk of transmission of all communicable diseases within health-care facilities. These measures are proportionate to the risk posed by communicable diseases currently in circulation.
For a list of infectious disease outbreaks (e.g. C. difficile, norovirus, influenza) declared at long-term care homes within the Vancouver Coastal Health region, visit our current outbreaks page. These include VCH-owned and operated Providence Health Care, Provincial Health Services and contracted facilities.