Visiting during the COVID-19 pandemic
Visitation summary for visitors/support persons who are visiting a patient/resident or accompanying a loved one to an appointment/hospital.
Screening: Visitors/support persons are directed to self-screen for COVID-19/respiratory illness. Visitors/support persons must meet the self-screening requirements before proceeding inside the health-care facility. Anyone who is feeling unwell or sick should not visit clients/patients/residents. Patients and clients are screened at registration.
Limited visitation: Visitation may be limited in areas of COVID-19 outbreak depending on the circumstances and severity.
Physical distancing: Whenever possible, please maintain physical distancing from others while in all Eastern Health facilities.
Hand hygiene: Wash hands regularly.
COVID-19/respiratory illness screening for visitors/support persons:
- Visitors/support persons are directed to self-screen for COVID-19/respiratory illness.
- Visitors/support persons are directed to follow signage at health-care facilities and must meet the self-screening requirements before proceeding inside of the health-care facility. In addition, visitors/support persons can complete self-screening prior to arrival at the facility by visiting Eastern Health’s ‘Screening and COVID-19 Testing’ webpage at https://www.easternhealth.ca/covid19/screening-and-covid-19-testing/.
- Visitation is not permitted if the support person/visitor is symptomatic (i.e. experiencing any one or more symptoms of COVID-19 or respiratory symptoms) or self-isolating (except in specific situations such as labour and delivery and end-of-life visitation and only in consultation with the patient/resident’s clinical care team).
- Masking is no longer required for clients, patients, residents, visitors/support persons upon entry and inside health-care facilities, pending they meet the self-screening requirements. Individuals who are symptomatic (i.e. experiencing any one or more symptoms of COVID-19 or respiratory symptoms) are required to wear a mask upon entry and while inside the health-care facility. Please note that visitors/support persons who are feeling unwell or sick should not visit patients/residents or accompany others to appointments.
- Masks continue to be available at health-care facilities across the province. Individuals who would like to continue to wear a mask are encouraged to do so.
- Individuals can wear their own medical mask or a mask provided at the health-care facility.
- Visitors/support persons who meet the screening requirements are also asked to consider the safety of those you are visiting. It can be especially important to wear a mask if you are around others who are at risk of more severe disease and outcomes, including those with chronic conditions, compromised immune systems and older adults.
Visitation guidelines and additional protocols
- Inpatients in a hospital setting and residents of long-term care homes, personal care homes, community care homes and assisted living facilities can have two visitors at the same time.
- Two adults (18+) may visit a patient at the same time which is in accordance with Eastern Health’s existing pre-COVID-19 visiting policy.
- Patients and residents are no longer required to identify designated visitors and support persons for visitation. Visitors/support persons are permitted with no more than two visitors at the same time. A support person is included as one of the two visitors during visiting hours. If a patient, resident or loved one feels that a support person is required for additional support or assistance outside of regular visiting hours, they should discuss their request with the clinical care team.
- Please note that some areas/units may not be able to accommodate two visitors at the same time due to the space available and the need to maintain physical distancing requirements. In these cases, clinical care teams will work with families to identify visitation options.
- Perform hand hygiene: Clean your hands with hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water.
- Physical distancing is recommended: Whenever possible, please maintain physical distancing from others while in all Eastern Health facilities.
- Limited visitation may occur at sites where an outbreak has been declared.
- Virtual visitation can be an alternate way to connect with loved ones during these visitor restrictions. To arrange for a virtual visit, please discuss your request with the care team.
Out-patient appointments and Emergency Department patients: Patients attending outpatient clinics and emergency departments can have one support person accompany them to hospital. Please note that for outpatient appointments at clinics or hospitals, some program areas may be able to accommodate an additional support person to accompany a patient or client, when requested. Please discuss the ability to accommodate an additional support person to an outpatient appointment with the program area. In keeping with public health guidance to reduce the number of contacts wherever possible, patients are asked to carefully consider the necessity of bringing a support person for appointments at ambulatory clinics (e.g. appointments at hospitals and chemotherapy/radiation appointments) or when presenting to an emergency room. To support that guidance, patients who can safely manage their interaction for out-patient care without assistance/support should attend unaccompanied. Patients who are accompanied by a support person should be aware that during peak times, support persons who have remained in the waiting area may be asked to wait outside the facility, if possible, to ensure adequate space is available in the waiting area for patients. The clinical care team will accommodate one support person in the treatment area when requested by the patient and if sufficient space is available to do so safely. For outpatient appointments at clinics or hospitals, the clinical care team will accommodate an additional support person in the treatment area when requested by the patient and if sufficient space is available to do so safely.
Public health guidance
- All visitors/support persons will be required to adhere to public health guidance at health-care facilities to ensure the safety of patients/residents and staff.
- Those who are required to self-isolate are permitted to visit/provide support in certain situations for obstetrics and end-of life care and are asked to discuss visitation with the patient/resident’s health-care team before visiting.
Precautions around confirmed/suspect cases of COVID-19
- Limited visitation, in consultation with the care team, may occur at sites where a COVID-19 outbreak has been declared, including visiting a COVID-19 positive patient/resident; in these circumstances, personal protective equipment must be worn for the visit as per protocol. In addition, visitation may be limited in areas of COVID-19 outbreak depending on the site circumstances and severity of the outbreak.
- As well, anyone who is feeling unwell or sick should not visit patients/residents.
Visitor restrictions during the pandemic have been critically important to the safety of our patients, staff and physicians. We would like to thank the public for their understanding and co-operation during this time.
For more information, please see our Public Service Announcements: