23 October 2020

Hospital visitor restrictions ease in the ACT

| Dominic Giannini
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Calvary Hospital

Restrictions will ease for hospital visitors tomorrow, allowing more people to see patients at the same time. Photo: File.

Visitor restrictions at health facilities, including hospitals, will ease from tomorrow (26 October) allowing two people to visit a patient each day.

Canberrans will be able to visit their loved ones at the same time or separately during visiting hours but visitors or outpatients who choose not to participate in health screening measures may be refused entry to health facilities.

Women will also be allowed to have two people to support them in birthing suites but it will need to be pre-planned with relevant midwifery and obstetric staff during antenatal care.

Exemptions to the policy on compassionate grounds will continue to be available on a case-by-case basis by arrangement with relevant clinical staff.

READ ALSO Canberra records first COVID-19 case in three months

People visiting outpatient or community health clinics are being encouraged to go alone where possible, with support limited to one other person if needed.

Health services are also asking that people do not bring children under 17 years of age.

“We know how hard it has been for Canberrans affected by the restrictions, and we thank the community for their continued support as we seek to protect the health and safety of our staff, patients and their families,” the Clinical Director of the ACT’s COVID-19 response Professor Imogen Mitchell said.

“Health screening at health facilities is the frontline of the ACT’s defence against COVID-19, and this will continue.

“It ensures health services have the means to contact trace if needed and has helped us to keep our staff, patients and their families safe.”

The announcement to ease restrictions was made despite the ACT recording its first positive COVID-19 case on Thursday (22 October) from a returned diplomat.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said at the time that the diplomat, who returned from overseas and promptly quarantined, would not impact the decision to move forward.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman says the ACT’s quarantine program is working as it should. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

“This is a demonstration that our quarantine program is doing exactly what we want it to do,” she said.

“These are not the cases we are concerned about. The cases we are concerned about are the ones that are locally acquired or potentially evidence of community transmission.

“But it is another timely reminder that COVID-19 still poses a risk to the ACT and the situation can change quickly.”

For more information on COVID-19 restrictions and the ACT’s response, visit the ACT Government.

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