Vaccine mandate for hospital visitation

Houston Health Centre not included in new province-wide practice requirements


As of Nov. 24, new rules are in place for hospital visitation, requiring proof of both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine upon entry.

According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (CDC), all visitors except young children under the age of vaccine eligibility, or those with an approved medical exemption and visitors in defined care settings, will be required to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination.

Visitors will continue to be screened at point of entry for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and other communicable respiratory illness prior to every visit. Visitors who have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or other communicable respiratory illness, as well as those under an order to quarantine, or have been told to self-isolate in accordance with public health directives, shall not be permitted to visit.

There are some exceptions to the mandate however, as proof of vaccination is not required for certain circumstances such as visits for compassionate care, including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end-of-life and medical assistance in dying.

Visits paramount to the patient’s physical care and mental well-being, as well as visits for supported decision making also do not require proof of vaccination.

According to a press release by the CDC, visitors shall be limited to one visitor per patient at a time in the emergency department and intensive care unit except when death is anticipated as imminent.

Northern Health Regional Manager Eryn Collins told Houston Today that the mandate will not be implemented at the Houston Health Centre.

“For facilities such as the Houston Health Centre that are not acute care facilities [hospitals] but provide a combination of services, many of them where support people are exempt, the requirement doesn’t apply,” said Collins.

According to Collins, the changes to the visitor rules for B.C. hospitals only impact those who want to visit someone at the hospital. These rules will not impact anyone who is accessing the hospital to receive care or to attend an appointment.