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'We can't wait for a vaccine': Islanders call for controlled return to care-home visitation
COURTENAY -- Two groups that advocate for seniors in Vancouver Island care facilities and their families say it's time to start easing up on visitation restrictions.
Nanaimo's 'Seniors in Care Crisis' and 'Crying Out Loud' from the Comox Valley issued a joint release to call on health authorities to allow family members to visit loved ones in long-term care facilities.
The release read in part:
"The families whole-heartedly acknowledge the dangers posed by COVID, but a lockdown of two and half months, with no end in sight, is starting to create its own health risks from isolation and depression."
Delores Broten is a spokesperson for the Crying Out Loud group and has a husband in Courtenay's Comox Valley Seniors Village. She is looking for assessments to be done on low-risk visits.
"I understand the reasons for it. I support them but at a certain point there has to be some way to structure the rules to be a little more compassionate," Broten told CTV News.
Seniors in Care Crisis member Marcy Johnsrude says the situation is becoming dire for some who are in the care facilities in isolation.
"I was just talking to a fellow last night who was talking to his loved one and this person was saying they wished they could die," she said.
Johnsrude believes that some of the residents in the homes won't be able to make it until the end of the pandemic.
"We can't wait for a vaccine. How do we know when that's going to happen?" Johnsrude said.
"We can't wait until COVID goes away...what if it doesn't go away?"
BC Health Minister Adrian Dix and BC's Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry both say they understand the frustrations but indicate that now is not the time to be relaxing access rules.
"Our health authorities are looking at how we can make that happen in a way that's safe for everybody in the coming times," said Henry.