THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has reduced its internal pandemic response level to Green from Yellow.
Dr. Peter Voros, the COVID-19 lead at the hospital, on Tuesday said the move shows just how far the community has come in its fight against the virus.
“Similar to Yellow, we’ll be bringing back volunteers. We’re removing restrictions on learners and external care partners. In Green we start to look at our contractors and vendors and those that aren’t essential and allowing them to come back into the building. We’re working on that right now,” Voros said.
“It also means we look at our care partners and our essential care partners.”
Voros said the hospital a few weeks ago moved to allow one essential care partner for each in-patient and now hospital officials will be looking at whether care partners can also visit for several hours each day.
It’s a question worth asking at this point, with just three active COVID-19 cases in the District of Thunder Bay, he said.
“Can we safely allow other people to come and see people while they’re in hospital? We’ll be looking at that over the next week or so and then making some decisions as we move forward,” Voros said.
According to a hospital document, an essential care partners provides physical, psychological and/or emotional support to a patient that could include decision-making, care co-ordination and continuity of care. They must be deemed essential to the patient’s care by the care team, working in collaboration with the patient.
A care partners provides many of the same supports, but isn’t necessarily deemed necessary by the care team.
Voros said the move to Green is a small step – for now.
“I think with all of this we have to keep in mind that the pandemic hasn’t gone away. We still have variants of concern in our province and we need to continue to be vigilant and work together and be safe,” Voros said.
“So we’ll be keeping our PPE restrictions on in the hospital in order to ensure we are keeping it as a safe space for patients and staff.”
Voros said it won’t the move won’t impact screening, unless at some point the hospital permits a wider swath of people who are allowed into the facility.
“We have, as of today, changed screening to no longer restrict travel outside of Northwestern Ontario,” he said. “So patients, their family and staff will no longer be asked if they’ve been traveling outside of Northwestern Ontario. All we will be asking will be if they’ve been traveling outside of Canada in the last 14 days.”