Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

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St. Joseph's Care Group


COVID-19 Visitor Information for Long-Term Care Homes

Visiting Long-Term Care Homes

Visiting Ontario Long-Term Care Homes during the COVID-19 pandemic is governed by the Ministry of Long-Term Care and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit.  It is responsive to the five levels of public health measures outlined in the Government of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework.  Because of this, visiting practices may change with little notice. We encourage you to stay informed of changes by visiting our website regularly for updates. When possible, we will reach out directly to substitute decision makers to communicate urgent information.

For complete details about visiting in Long-Term Care Homes, please visit : Visiting Long-Term Care Homes in Ontario

Visitor Restrictions
Provincewide Shutdown (Grey Zone Visiting Policies Apply)

When the Thunder Bay District Health Unit is in the Orange, Red, or Grey zone, or the home is in an outbreak, the following visiting policies apply:

  • One (1) Essential Caregiver Visitor only
  • Essential End-of-Life Visitors (up to 4) identified for visiting, with only two (2) visiting at a time
  • No General Visitors
  • Only absences for medical or compassionate reasons are allowed.
  • Provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result in the past week that:
    • they have not subsequently tested positive, have not visited a resident who is self-isolating or symptomatic and/or a Home that is in an outbreak within the past 14 days
    • They have read/re-read the Visitor policy (See Visitor Obligations section for most current version) at a minimum of once per month.
Visitor Definitions
General Visitors

A General Visitor is a person who is not an essential visitor and is visiting:

  • To provide non-essential services, who may or may not be hired by the home or the resident and/or their substitute decision maker; and/or
  • For social reasons (e.g. family members or friends) that the resident or their substitute decision-maker assess as different from direct care, including care related to cognitive stimulation, meaningful connection and relational continuity
Essential Caregiver Visitors

Essential Caregiver Visitors are:

  • Are designated by the resident and/or their substitute decision-maker and is visiting to provide direct care to the resident (e.g. supporting feeding, mobility, personal hygiene, cognitive stimulation, communication, meaningful connection, relational continuity and assistance in decision-making).
  • Caregivers must be at least 18 years of age.
  • A maximum of 2 caregivers may be designated per resident at a time. The designation should be made in writing to the home. Homes should have a procedure for documenting caregiver designations. The decision to designate an individual as a caregiver is entirely the remit of the resident and/or their substitute decision-maker and not the home.
  • A resident and/or their substitute decision-maker may change a designation in response to a change in the:
    • Resident’s care needs that is reflected in the plan of care.
    • Availability of a designated caregiver, either temporary (e.g. illness) or permanent.
  • Examples of caregivers include family members who provide meaningful connection, a privately hired caregiver, paid companions and translators.
Essential End-of-Life Visitors
  • Each resident or their substitute decision maker can identify up to four (4) End-of-life Essential Visitors (in addition to Essential Caregiver Visitors) who are exempt from COVID-19 asymptomatic testing
  • End-of-Life Visitors are only permitted when a resident’s condition has deteriorated and is approaching end-of-life (generally within 7 days)
Visitor Obligations (Applies to all Visitors)
COVID-19 Asymptomatic Visitor Testing
  • The Ministry of Long-Term Care requires all visitors to long-term care homes to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result
  • A printed copy of results or results displayed on a smart phone will be accepted
Where to get an Asymptomatic Test

Visitors to our Long-Term Care Homes will now receive their asymptomatic testing at Confederation College’s Sibley Building located at 960 William Street.

To provide a safe environment for those tested, only Asymptomatic testing will only be done in the afternoons Monday to Friday. All appointments are booked for the same day – there are no longer advance appointments available. You can book your same-day appointment online or by calling 807-935-8100.

Please use the William Street entrance to access the Sibley building. Signage will direct you to the correct entrance.


Televisits are available for family and friends who either live out of town, or who are unable to visit in person for health reasons. Visit our Televisit page for more information.

Resident and Family Newsletters
Hogarth Riverview Manor
Bethammi Nursing Home

For visitor information on St. Joseph's Hospital or Seniors' Supportive Housing, please follow their respective links.

-- Updated: January 25, 2021 --

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