By Andrea Arnold

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, issued a notice on April 6th announcing major changes to COVID restrictions in B.C.

“In particular, visitor restrictions in long-term care, assisted living, and health-care facilities have been lifted. This includes the requirement for proof of vaccination to enter long-term care, assisted living, and health- care facilities, which is no longer in effect. Rapid antigen testing in long-term care is no longer required. Furthermore, universal mask-wearing by all staff and visitors in health-care facilities is no longer mandatory.”

The announcement comes after a decrease in all respiratory viruses has been observed following the winter months.

The statement acknowledges that at times, masks will still be needed in some health-care settings. The statement explains that there has always been a need for masks as extra protection for high-risk patients against respiratory transmitted infections and workers against high-risk exposure to infectious diseases.

There are still Provincial Health Officer orders in place requiring health-care system workers to be vaccinated for the protection of patients and health-care workers and ensure the resilience of the health-care system. The spring booster vaccine program is available for those needing the extra boost of immunity.