Fully vaccinated Manitobans can now visit personal care homes

Fully vaccinated Manitobans can now visit their fully vaccinated loved ones at personal care homes.

In the province’s guidelines for long-term care resident visitations, it says visits are now permitted when both the resident and the general visitor are fully vaccinated, which means they received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before the visit.

Visitors must provide proof of vaccination, as well as photo ID. Valid vaccine documentation includes the Manitoba immunization card, the online confirmation of the vaccine record through Shared Health or a printout of the vaccine record through Shared Health.

"The rule is that there needs to be some sort of mechanism to verify vaccinations statuses of visitors," said Maria Cotroneo, WRHA interim executive director for continuing care.

"But how they do it, there are four different ways that that can be done, will depend on the site," she said.

For example, a site may not have a QR scanner, so they may need to ask for a paper copy.

Cotroneo says care homes have been instructed to inform families of residents what will be accepted as proof of vaccination.

"The expectation is that the sites ensure that all of the families are aware of those mechanisms, so that family and visitors are aware when coming in," said Cotroneo.

 Designated family caregivers don’t have to provide proof of vaccination.

The province notes that general visits occur in designated visiting spaces. However, for general visits to take place in a shared or multi-bed room, all the residents have to be fully vaccinated.

General visitors can schedule their visits by appointment. Designated family caregivers have more flexibility to visit any time and for any length of time during specified visitation hours or as determined by the care team.

More details on the changes to visitation at Manitoba care homes can be found online. 

VISITATION AT HOSPITALS NOT IN EFFECT YET

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said the new rules for fully vaccinated visitors are not yet in effect at hospitals, but have been released.

According to Manitoba’s COVID-19 essential care and visitor guidelines for acute care, the province will expand visitor access to Green Zones at acute care facilities as long as both the patient and visitor have had their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for at least 14 days.

Visitors will be required to show proof of their vaccination status and photo identification. Children between the ages of 12 and 18 will have to provide proof of vaccination, but will not have to show photo ID, while those under the age of 12 will have to pass screening.

All visitors will also have to adhere to screening and health protocols, such as hand hygiene, physical distancing, enhanced disinfection and wearing a mask.

The province notes that expanded visitation will only be for inpatient visits, and won’t apply to outpatient services such as emergency departments, diagnostic services and day procedures. Visits for end-of-life situations at emergency departments will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Under the expanded rules, visitor access to orange and red zones will not be permitted, regardless of a visitor’s vaccination status.

More information on what the visitation guidelines will be at hospitals, including what this means for unvaccinated people and in-room visits, can be found online.

The province has not specified when the expanded visitation will be implemented at acute care facilities.

- With files from CTV’s Michael D’Alimonte.