The following is intended for all Island Health staff, medical staff, students and volunteers on behalf of:
- Dr. Réka Gustafson, Chief Medical Health Officer
- Marko Peljhan, VP Clinical Services, Acute Care Centre/SI & Provincial Programs
- James Hanson, VP, Clinical Services, Acute Care North & Community Services
September 28, 2023
Masking & Ambassadors Returning To Patient Care Sites
WHAT IS HAPPENING
In anticipation of the up coming viral respiratory infection (VRI) season the Province of BC announced today that all health authorities will be re-instating additional Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) measures in healthcare settings for the 2023/24 VRI season.
WHAT IS CHANGING
Effective from Tuesday, October 3, 2023:
AMBASSADORS: Non-clinical ambassadors will be reinstated at one main entry point at Island Health facilities where patients/clients/residents visit and receive care.
- Ambassadors will provide medical masks to visitors entering the facility and direct them to hand hygiene stations.
- Ambassadors will advise visitors with symptoms of a VRI not to enter; signage will support this.
- Ambassadors will not ask for, or check for vaccination status of those entering the facility.
- Secondary entrances without ambassadors will not be locked, as this provided a hardship to vulnerable patients during the pandemic. Signage will be posted at these entry points, and masks and hand sanitizer will be available.
MASKING: Continuous medical masking by health-care workers, visitors, contractors and volunteers will return in all patient/resident/client areas and interactions.
- Masking will not be required in areas where patients are unlikely to be, such as: administrative offices, meeting rooms, collaboration areas and break rooms.
- Masks will be worn by the health-care worker during patient home care visits.
Visitors to LTC facilities will wear a medical mask when moving through and/or participating in indoor events, gatherings and activities with others in common areas of the care home/residence.
- Masks will not be required when visiting alone with a resident in a single occupancy room, or in a common area where no one else is sitting.
WHAT IS NOT CHANGING
Unlike what we experienced through the pandemic, the following measures will not be implemented:
- Room and visitor capacity limits
- Physical distancing
All staff and medical staff are strongly encouraged to get an influenza vaccine, as well as the updated COVID-19 vaccine available this fall. More information on immunization clinics will be shared in the coming weeks.
Should you have any questions regarding these changes, please speak with your leader.
Thank you for supporting our patients and each other as these changes are implemented in Island Health.