B.C. lifts proof of vaccination, masking requirements for entering healthcare facilities

British Columbians will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination to enter when visiting family and friends in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Public health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the change immediately on Friday (April 6).

Henry also announced that visitors to long-term care homes will no longer be required to undergo rapid antigen testing.

Henry and Health Secretary Adrian Dix rescinded an order requiring all staff and visitors to wear face coverings in healthcare facilities at all times, except in certain circumstances, to protect the health of patients and staff.

She warned that British Columbians may see mask requirements fluctuate based on the seasonality of respiratory illnesses.

As for the requirement that all health care workers be vaccinated: “I don’t see that coming,” she said.

Henry added that it was this requirement that gave the government the confidence to lift various health orders and ministerial requirements.

While the province has exited the “emergency phase” of the pandemic, it’s unclear when the pandemic will be considered over.

The combination of infection rates and vaccination rates creates what Henry calls a high level of “mixed immunity” against COVID-19. However, she warned against complacency.

Earlier this week, the province launched a campaign to boost vaccinations for older, vulnerable British Columbians. The latest round of boosters are available to non-Indigenous people aged 80 and over and Aboriginal people aged 70 and over. Seniors in long-term care will also be a focus of the campaign.

Henry said she suspects British Columbians will get another dose of COVID-19 in the fall, similar to the flu shot. In fact, the vaccine could be a combination flu and COVID-19 vaccine, she added. Another possibility is for British Columbians to get a “pan-coronavirus” vaccine.

Influenza and RSV cases have leveled off severely from their respective peaks in late November and mid-January, and COVID-19 cases have stabilized at low levels, according to provincial data.

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BC Government Coronavirus COVID-19 Health

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