Updates on Visitor Restrictions and COVID-19 Testing for Hospital Admissions

June 30, 2021 – St. John’s, NL: Eastern Health reminds the public of visitor restrictions and advises of updates to routine surveillance COVID-19 testing for hospital admissions. All support persons/visitors must continue to register upon arrival to a health-care facility and be screened prior to the visit.

In line with the province’s Together Again Plan, effective July 1, 2021, Eastern Health is pleased to welcome visitors from outside of Atlantic Canada, provided the individual is not self-isolating; does not have any symptoms of COVID-19 or known exposures to COVID-19; and meets all other screening criteria for visitation. Individuals who are required to self-isolate are permitted to provide support/visit in certain situations for obstetrics and end-of life care. These support persons/visitors are directed to discuss visitation with the patient’s health-care team.

Current visitation guidelines replace the previous designated visitor process for visiting patients in hospital and long-term care residents, and state that hospital patients and long-term care residents can identify one support person, if required, and up to two visitors per day. Visitation hours are determined by facility and visitors/support persons are advised to contact the patient’s/resident’s health-care team for further information. Some areas across the organization may not be able to accommodate multiple support people/visitors due to the need to maintain physical distancing requirements. In these cases, clinical care teams will work with families to identify visitation options. For additional information and full details on visitor restrictions, including guidelines for specific program areas, please visit the “Visitation and Support Person” webpage via www.easternhealth.ca/covid19.

Visitors are reminded that physical distancing (two metres/six feet) is required in all common spaces throughout our hospitals or sites, and that visits will only proceed for individuals who meet the screening criteria. Visitors entering the facility should proceed directly to the patient’s room and once visitation is complete, they should immediately exit the facility to assist with physical distancing within our facilities.

In addition, Eastern Health advises the public of updates to COVID-19 testing for hospital admissions. Effective June 30, 2021, routine surveillance COVID-19 testing for hospital admissions will no longer be required. As per regular process, all patients requiring hospital admission will be screened by a series of questions via the COVID-19 Triage Screening tool; individuals who have any symptoms of COVID-19 or known exposures to COVID-19 will continue to be tested for COVID-19. Asymptomatic testing originally completed as part of a pilot surveillance project in Summer 2020 resulted in no identification of active cases.

Eastern Health continues to do COVID-19 testing for scheduled appointments that require an aerosol generating medical procedure (AGMP) such as, but not limited to, an upper endoscopy or a bronchoscopy. Individuals who have a planned admission to one of our hospitals for an aerosol generating medical procedure (AGMP), or who have an outpatient appointment for an AGMP will be contacted up to 72 hours in advance to have a COVID-19 swab test completed prior to admission/procedure. Patients will be required to isolate from the time the swab is  taken until the time for their procedure or surgery. For more information, please visit the “Screening & COVID-19 Testing at EH Sites” webpage via www.easternhealth.ca/covid19.

For updates pertaining to Eastern Health’s ongoing services, please visit Eastern Health’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. General contact information for Eastern Health’s programs and services is available at: www.easternhealth.ca/contactus.

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