Tomorrow, Ontario opens into phase two of the provincial re-opening framework, which means there’s more access to more places, and it appears that some of those places now include long-term care homes and Guelph General Hospital. From the Government of Ontario is news that visitor restrictions are being eased in Ontario long-term care homes, while locally Guelph General is doing the same.
“I am so glad we are now able to loosen our restrictions. We know family and friends play an important part in a patient’s healing process,” said Melissa Skinner, VP Patient Services and Chief Nursing Executive, in a statement.
Beginning Wednesday, all non-COVID patients in the hospital will be allowed to have one visitor per day. All visitors will have to pass a screening at the hospital entrance, and masks will have to be worn at all time. Visitors will also have to keep a two-metre physical distance and clean their hands often, but there will be no eating or drinking allowed in patient’s rooms.
“Just as people are doing a great job following Public Health guidelines in the community, we need them to do the same while here. It keeps everyone safe, both patients and staff,” Skinner added.
The Hospital media release added that there could be a further loosening of restrictions when Ontario enacts the third phase of the re-opening plan sometime later in July.
Meanwhile, the rules are changing for long-term care homes after consultation with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and feedback gathered from long-term care residents and their families. Under the new guidelines all residents will be allowed up to 10 visitors outdoors, and up to two general visitors and two caregivers for indoor visits. Residents will also be allowed be allowed personal care services, and they will also be able to cohort for outdoor activities.
“As we cautiously and safely reopen the province, no one deserves to enjoy the reopening more than long-term care residents, their families and the staff,” said Minister of Long-Term Care Rod Phillips in his first official statement on the job. “As we head into summer, long-term care residents will be able to spend more time with their friends and families thanks to the efforts of people across Ontario rolling up their sleeves and getting vaccinated.”
According to the Government of Ontario, virtually all long-term care residents have been fully vaccinated, and so have 84 per cent of staff.
With the third phase of the re-opening, the Provincial government might consider further relief of restrictions initiated in long-term care homes because of COVID-19, like the resumption of off-site excursions, a return to buffet and family dining, and the removal of visitor limits.