Information current

September 26, 2020

We're in Phase 3 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Watch the latest video update.

For non-medical questions, email covid19info@gov.yk.ca or phone 1-877-374-0425.

For medical questions or if you feel ill, phone 811, or launch the COVID-19 self-assessment tool.

Long-term care visitation guidelines: COVID-19

Those who are most at risk for developing severe symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • people over 65;
  • people with compromised immune systems; or
  • people underlying medical conditions.


The intent of this guidance is to protect the health and safety of residents and staff in long term care (LTC) homes.


Visitors play a crucial role in the lives of long term care residents.

Social connection can happen with little to no risk of virus spread. The best options for these include:

  • letter writing;
  • phone calls;
  • video visits; and
  • window visits.

Continuing Care supports a variety of methods of social connection through the upcoming months.

These are the principles used to plan and change our guidelines:

  • Safety. Visits must meet the health and safety needs of residents. The safety of staff and visitors are also important. We must reduce risks as much as possible.
  • Emotional well-being. Visits support the emotional well-being of residents and their families/friends. These visits reduce the negative impacts of social isolation.
  • Equitable access. A one-size fits all approach is not likely to support equity. Access should consider a resident’s preferences. It should also meet reasonable restrictions to safeguard the health of all residents.
  • Flexibility. We consider:
    • the design of the building;
    • staff availability; and
    • any required personal protective equipment.


These guidelines outline the approach for visitation with residents of homes in Yukon. They may change as needed based on public health recommendations or orders.

Summary of instructions for visiting long-term care homes
  • General visiting conditions are suspended.
  • A designated essential visitor can visit inside or outside the LTC home if:
    • the resident is near end-of-life; or
    • the resident’s essential care needs require the visitor’s help or presence.
  • If a resident does not have need of a designated essential visitor, they may choose up to two identified general visitors for indoor visits.
  • Outdoor visits at the LTC home have to follow physical distancing guidelines. Ensure you are staying 2 metres (6 feet) apart.
  • The total group size for outdoor visits should be no more than 3, including the resident.
  • Private vehicle transportation of a resident should be for essential reasons only. Transportation should be provided by identified visitor.
  • Overnight or extended visits are not recommended.
  • Out of territory visitors are permitted for designated essential visitors.
  • Identified general visitors cannot visit indoors until 14 days after out-of-territory travel. This restriction is in place regardless of border restrictions in existing health orders.
Designated essential visitors

There are 2 types of designated essential visitors:

  • end of life essential care visitor; and
  • essential care visitor when staff cannot meet a resident’s quality of life or care needs.

For both categories of designated essential visitors the following criteria must be met:

  • the resident or their substitute decision maker (SDM) designates an essential visitor(s);
  • a designated essential visitor cannot be under 18 years of age; and
  • the resident care manager must confirm that the designated essential visitor meets criteria.

End-of-life essential care visitor

If a resident will die within the next 4 weeks:

  • the designated essential visitor may enter the long term care home;
  • the resident care manager can approve up to 5 other people, but only 1 or 2 visitors are in the care home at a time, this includes:
    • the resident’s family;
    • their religious leaders;
    • a child (under 16 years of age); and
    • their friends.
  • If the approved visitor is a child, the designated essential visitor or the child’s parent or guardian must go with them.
  • A resident can have up to 2 visitors in their bedroom at the same time if physical distancing of 2 metres (6 feet) can be maintained.

Essential care visitor

An essential care visitor may also be named. If the resident’s quality of life or care needs cannot be met without help, they may need an essential care visitor.

Staff cannot meet a resident's identified needs (for example, in their care plan)

The resident care manager approves requests. Often this is done when there is an identified need that can only be met by the visitor. This could include services for someone with cognitive impairment or dementia. If they do not understand the current COVID-19 orders, they may need an essential care visitor. Also, where the person’s quality of care and life are supported by the involvement of the visitor, it can be allowed.

When can a temporary replacement can be designated?

A temporary replacement can be designated if the original essential visitor is unable to visit. The designated essential visitor is not intended to change regularly or many times. This is only to enable a replacement when unforeseen circumstances occur.

People who meet the above criteria will not be restricted. However, resident and care home circumstances may not allow for all desired visits.

If there is a disagreement on permitted visitors, the designated essential visitor should discuss the situation with the resident care manager. If the situation cannot be resolved, then the director of the area should be contacted.

If there are several essential visitors in 1 area of a care home, the resident care manager can create an approach to support resident care needs. This can be done while creating safe visitation that complies with public health recommendations. This may mean:

  • staggering visits;
  • phasing visits; or
  • other creative approaches.
Identified general visitor

A general visitor is a visitor who has been named by the resident or substitute decision maker (SDM). This person does not need to provide for a specific need within the resident’s care plan.

Each resident can have 2 identified general visitors for indoor visits. This includes their essential visitor.

Two identified general visitors may visit at the same time only if they are from the same household.

Visitors should not change regularly. If the original visitor is unable to visit for a period, a replacement can be considered. Periodic changes may occur every 4 to 6 weeks.

Each resident can have an additional 2 identified general visitors for outdoor visits.

Criteria for indoor visiting

At each visit, the visitor must:

  • stay home if symptoms are present;
  • not visit the care home if has travelled outside the territory in the past 14 days regardless of existing border restrictions.
    • (There are exceptions for essential end of life and care visitors. See Visitors from out-of-territory tab.);
  • sign in;
  • undergo a COVID-19 screening questionnaire and temperature check;
  • wear a medical mask continuously throughout their time in the care home ‒ we provide the mask and information on how to put on and take off masks with proper hand hygiene before and after;
  • remain in the resident’s room for the duration of the visit ‒ assisting with quality of life or care activities (for example, meal time) or supporting an outdoor visit are the only exceptions;
  • not visit with any other residents;
  • avoid touching share equipment (for example, linen carts);
  • wear any personal protective equipment (PPE), as may be required; and
  • wash hands or use sanitizer on entry or exit from the building and entry or exit from rooms.
Outdoor visits

Residents who do not need to isolate may spend time outdoors. Physical distancing is still needed.

Outdoor visits can include (total group size of 3, including the resident):

  • the designated essential visitor(s);
  • the identified general visitor(s); or
  • 2 other people.

Other notes:

  • There is no age restriction for the other person, for example, minors are permitted.
  • You have to make arrangements for the outside visit.
  • The resident and designated essential or identified general visitors can make arrangements for an outside visit.
  • Arrangements should include scheduling, frequency, feasibility, weather appropriate clothing, etc.
  • Outdoor visitors must wear a mask during the visit where a 2 metre distance is not guaranteed. For example, if going for a walk or pushing a wheelchair other precautions should be taken.
  • If physical distancing can be guaranteed, mask are recommended, but are not required.
  • Any mask that meets Health Canada’s recommendations for non-medical masks is permitted.
  • Visitors must remain outdoors at all times after initial screening. When re-entering the facility, residents and essential visitors must immediately wash their hands.
Overnight or extended visits

Currently, it is not recommended that residents go on these visits due to the increased risk.

If essential for a resident to visit family or friends, the decision for a resident to go on an extended visit is often made as a group. The resident, the family or friend they will be staying with and members of the care team will work together. This ensures that medications or other resources are organized to support the visit. Under normal conditions, the resident does not need "permission" from the care home.

Visitors from out-of-territory or after out-of-territory travel

A visitor who has recently entered or returned to the territory is not permitted to visit indoors at a LTC home. The only exception is if they are a designated essential end of life or essential care visitor.


This requirement is regardless of existing border restrictions. It is in place as an extra layer of protection for residents.

Designated essential end of life or essential care visitors must follow self-isolation requirements and exemption processes.
 

Pets

Continuing Care’s existing pet visitation policy is in effect. Pets are welcome to visit residents both inside and outside the care home.

Conditions for visiting pets

  • Pets from a home of someone who's tested positive for COVID-19 are not permitted. If a person in a home is waiting for COVID-19 test results, those pets are not permitted.
  • Pets are accompanied at all times by the pet owner or handler.
  • Pets and their owner or handler do not interact with other residents.
  • Pets cannot stay overnight.
  • Pets should be leashed or contained in a kennel when in public areas.
  • Pets are clean, without open sores.
  • Pets have up-to-date vaccinations.
  • Pets are well-behaved.
  • Pet owners or handlers must clean up pet feces and urine.
  • If items such as bedding are soiled, inform staff.
  • Pets are not permitted in food preparation areas, or in dining areas during meal times.
  • Ensure the resident practises hand hygiene after the pet visit.
Yukoners who’ve travelled outside of British Columbia, Northwest Territories and Nunavut

By law, when you arrive in Yukon you have to self-isolate for 14 days in Whitehorse. If you want to visit an LTC resident before your self-isolation time is over, you can apply for an exemption. Complete and submit an alternative self-isolation plan.

The Government of Yukon’s Minister of Community Service makes the final decision about your application in consultation with Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. This is for the safety and health of Yukoners.

If your plan is approved, the long-term care home will provide you with a letter and details of your visit.

  • General visiting conditions are suspended.
  • A designated essential visitor can visit inside or outside the LTC home if:
    • the resident is near end-of-life; or
    • the resident’s essential care needs require the visitor’s help or presence.
  • If a resident does not have need of a designated essential visitor, they may choose up to two identified general visitors for indoor visits.
  • Outdoor visits at the LTC home have to follow physical distancing guidelines. Ensure you are staying 2 metres (6 feet) apart.
  • The total group size for outdoor visits should be no more than 3, including the resident.
  • Private vehicle transportation of a resident should be for essential reasons only. Transportation should be provided by identified visitor.
  • Overnight or extended visits are not recommended.
  • Out of territory visitors are permitted for designated essential visitors.
  • Identified general visitors cannot visit indoors until 14 days after out-of-territory travel. This restriction is in place regardless of border restrictions in existing health orders.

There are 2 types of designated essential visitors:

  • end of life essential care visitor; and
  • essential care visitor when staff cannot meet a resident’s quality of life or care needs.

For both categories of designated essential visitors the following criteria must be met:

  • the resident or their substitute decision maker (SDM) designates an essential visitor(s);
  • a designated essential visitor cannot be under 18 years of age; and
  • the resident care manager must confirm that the designated essential visitor meets criteria.

End-of-life essential care visitor

If a resident will die within the next 4 weeks:

  • the designated essential visitor may enter the long term care home;
  • the resident care manager can approve up to 5 other people, but only 1 or 2 visitors are in the care home at a time, this includes:
    • the resident’s family;
    • their religious leaders;
    • a child (under 16 years of age); and
    • their friends.
  • If the approved visitor is a child, the designated essential visitor or the child’s parent or guardian must go with them.
  • A resident can have up to 2 visitors in their bedroom at the same time if physical distancing of 2 metres (6 feet) can be maintained.

Essential care visitor

An essential care visitor may also be named. If the resident’s quality of life or care needs cannot be met without help, they may need an essential care visitor.

Staff cannot meet a resident's identified needs (for example, in their care plan)

The resident care manager approves requests. Often this is done when there is an identified need that can only be met by the visitor. This could include services for someone with cognitive impairment or dementia. If they do not understand the current COVID-19 orders, they may need an essential care visitor. Also, where the person’s quality of care and life are supported by the involvement of the visitor, it can be allowed.

When can a temporary replacement can be designated?

A temporary replacement can be designated if the original essential visitor is unable to visit. The designated essential visitor is not intended to change regularly or many times. This is only to enable a replacement when unforeseen circumstances occur.

People who meet the above criteria will not be restricted. However, resident and care home circumstances may not allow for all desired visits.

If there is a disagreement on permitted visitors, the designated essential visitor should discuss the situation with the resident care manager. If the situation cannot be resolved, then the director of the area should be contacted.

If there are several essential visitors in 1 area of a care home, the resident care manager can create an approach to support resident care needs. This can be done while creating safe visitation that complies with public health recommendations. This may mean:

  • staggering visits;
  • phasing visits; or
  • other creative approaches.

A general visitor is a visitor who has been named by the resident or substitute decision maker (SDM). This person does not need to provide for a specific need within the resident’s care plan.

Each resident can have 2 identified general visitors for indoor visits. This includes their essential visitor.

Two identified general visitors may visit at the same time only if they are from the same household.

Visitors should not change regularly. If the original visitor is unable to visit for a period, a replacement can be considered. Periodic changes may occur every 4 to 6 weeks.

Each resident can have an additional 2 identified general visitors for outdoor visits.

At each visit, the visitor must:

  • stay home if symptoms are present;
  • not visit the care home if has travelled outside the territory in the past 14 days regardless of existing border restrictions.
    • (There are exceptions for essential end of life and care visitors. See Visitors from out-of-territory tab.);
  • sign in;
  • undergo a COVID-19 screening questionnaire and temperature check;
  • wear a medical mask continuously throughout their time in the care home ‒ we provide the mask and information on how to put on and take off masks with proper hand hygiene before and after;
  • remain in the resident’s room for the duration of the visit ‒ assisting with quality of life or care activities (for example, meal time) or supporting an outdoor visit are the only exceptions;
  • not visit with any other residents;
  • avoid touching share equipment (for example, linen carts);
  • wear any personal protective equipment (PPE), as may be required; and
  • wash hands or use sanitizer on entry or exit from the building and entry or exit from rooms.

Residents who do not need to isolate may spend time outdoors. Physical distancing is still needed.

Outdoor visits can include (total group size of 3, including the resident):

  • the designated essential visitor(s);
  • the identified general visitor(s); or
  • 2 other people.

Other notes:

  • There is no age restriction for the other person, for example, minors are permitted.
  • You have to make arrangements for the outside visit.
  • The resident and designated essential or identified general visitors can make arrangements for an outside visit.
  • Arrangements should include scheduling, frequency, feasibility, weather appropriate clothing, etc.
  • Outdoor visitors must wear a mask during the visit where a 2 metre distance is not guaranteed. For example, if going for a walk or pushing a wheelchair other precautions should be taken.
  • If physical distancing can be guaranteed, mask are recommended, but are not required.
  • Any mask that meets Health Canada’s recommendations for non-medical masks is permitted.
  • Visitors must remain outdoors at all times after initial screening. When re-entering the facility, residents and essential visitors must immediately wash their hands.

Currently, it is not recommended that residents go on these visits due to the increased risk.

If essential for a resident to visit family or friends, the decision for a resident to go on an extended visit is often made as a group. The resident, the family or friend they will be staying with and members of the care team will work together. This ensures that medications or other resources are organized to support the visit. Under normal conditions, the resident does not need "permission" from the care home.

A visitor who has recently entered or returned to the territory is not permitted to visit indoors at a LTC home. The only exception is if they are a designated essential end of life or essential care visitor.


This requirement is regardless of existing border restrictions. It is in place as an extra layer of protection for residents.

Designated essential end of life or essential care visitors must follow self-isolation requirements and exemption processes.
 

Continuing Care’s existing pet visitation policy is in effect. Pets are welcome to visit residents both inside and outside the care home.

Conditions for visiting pets

  • Pets from a home of someone who's tested positive for COVID-19 are not permitted. If a person in a home is waiting for COVID-19 test results, those pets are not permitted.
  • Pets are accompanied at all times by the pet owner or handler.
  • Pets and their owner or handler do not interact with other residents.
  • Pets cannot stay overnight.
  • Pets should be leashed or contained in a kennel when in public areas.
  • Pets are clean, without open sores.
  • Pets have up-to-date vaccinations.
  • Pets are well-behaved.
  • Pet owners or handlers must clean up pet feces and urine.
  • If items such as bedding are soiled, inform staff.
  • Pets are not permitted in food preparation areas, or in dining areas during meal times.
  • Ensure the resident practises hand hygiene after the pet visit.

By law, when you arrive in Yukon you have to self-isolate for 14 days in Whitehorse. If you want to visit an LTC resident before your self-isolation time is over, you can apply for an exemption. Complete and submit an alternative self-isolation plan.

The Government of Yukon’s Minister of Community Service makes the final decision about your application in consultation with Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. This is for the safety and health of Yukoners.

If your plan is approved, the long-term care home will provide you with a letter and details of your visit.