Starting tomorrow, Simcoe County is allowing indoor visits at its long-term care homes.
In a letter sent to resident’s families, Jane Sinclair, the county's general manager of health and emergency services, announced the change to the visitation allowances.
Up to two people at a time can visit a resident at the long-term care facilities provided they both have a negative COVID-19 test within the two weeks prior to their visit.
All visits must also be pre-arranged.
The county owns and operates four long-term care facilities including Sunset Manor in Collingwood, Trillium Manor in Orillia, Simcoe Manor in Beeton, and Georgian Manor in Penetanguishene.
The county is also allowing outdoor patio visits for up to two people. The outdoor visits must also be pre-arranged, but visitors would not require a COVID test.
“Our enhanced infection control precautions have been difficult for many residents and their families,” noted Sinclair in her letter. “We have had to make hard decisions regarding visitation, and we know the separation from loved ones continues to take a toll on you and our residents.”
The County of Simcoe reported one resident case of COVID-19, and the individual has recovered and is “doing well.”
“We’re proud to have kept our residents and staff safe so far during COVID-19, but we acknowledge how hard it has been for families and residents to be apart,” said Sinclair.
There will still be enhanced screening protocols in place for long-term care staff, and the same personal protective equipment measures that have been in place for the pandemic.
The new visitation rules allowing indoor visits with a test and outdoor visits without a test were announced by the provinces’ ministry of long-term care last week.
“I am cautiously optimistic that this is a very significant step in the right direction,” said Sinclair. “I must also … request that visitors to our facilities remain vigilant for the health and safety of residents and staff. Regular handwashing and sanitizing remain crucial.”
As always, visitors are asked to stay away if they are feeling ill, and as an extra precaution, you should not visit if you or anyone you are in contact with has or is suspected of having COVID-19.
“Though we are making great strides towards a new normal, the pandemic is not over, amd we must continue to exercise caution, particularly when it comes to the health and wellbeing of our beloved seniors,’ said Sinclair.
If you’d like to visit someone in a Simcoe County long-term care facility, you will have to call ahead to book an appointment. You’ll find contact information on the county’s website.