Mounting evidence of reduced levels of COVID-19 transmission will result in several changes taking effect June 30th at health-care facilities throughout the province.
Guidance provided by Shared Health to service delivery organizations throughout the health-care system has continued to evolve throughout the pandemic. Evidence of lower transmission levels – reflected by a decrease in staff sick time, a reduction in the number of in-facility outbreaks and a drop in COVID hospitalization rates – are allowing for further adjustments while maintaining some necessary precautions to minimize the spread of the virus and other respiratory illnesses in health facilities and other care settings.
Changes in guidance include an increase in the number of designated caregivers (individuals involved in the day-to-day care and support of patients, residents or clients) from two to as many as four. Designated caregivers will also no longer be required to wear eye protection during visits and while providing care or support to their loved one.
For outpatient services, including emergency departments and urgent care centres as well as some diagnostic services, the number of designated caregivers who can accompany patients will increase from one to two, dependent on the discretion of the site or operator based on available space.
For cancer patients, one designated caregiver may now attend some appointments, including radiation therapy. Access to outpatient cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, will remain restricted.
While indoor masking rules remain in place at health-care facilities, medical masks will no longer be required to be worn during outdoor visits.
Other changes include:
-More access for social visitors. The number of individuals permitted may differ from site to site based on the size of the space and the facility itself;
-Newly admitted residents to personal care homes will be required to quarantine (rather than isolate) for 10 days, allowing them to leave their room during this period of time as long as they wear a mask and/or physical distancing is maintained; and
-The resumption of certain activities at long-term care facilities, such as singing.
These changes, which also include minor updates to personal protective equipment requirements, were developed in consultation with infection prevention and control, occupational safety and health and clinical experts, as well as health system operators.
Facility operators have been provided with guidelines to support increased access for designated caregivers and general visitors across Manitoba. Access to individual units or facilities may vary at the discretion of the care team and based on the location in which a visit is to occur.
Care teams and facility operators will continue to work with patients, residents, clients and family members to meet the needs of individuals.
Updated guidance is available here: https://sharedhealthmb.ca/files/covid-19-updated-guidance.pdf