South West Hospitals to Maintain Masking Requirements Indefinitely

Published On: April 11, 2022

Hospitals across the south west, including St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH) have updated their ongoing protections against COVID-19 and confirm that current masking requirements for all individuals entering their facilities will continue indefinitely.

“As a system of hospitals, we have been continually assessing what we feel are responsible protections for our patients, our teams, and those visiting our hospital sites,” says Karen Davies, President and CEO at STEGH. “The rising number of COVID-19 cases in our communities is significantly affecting our ability to staff programs and services due to increasing absences related to COVID-19. Currently, more staff are calling in sick with COVID (or having COVID exposures) than at any time during the pandemic. We recognize how hard this period has been for staff and physicians, many of whom have worked overtime, taken on more patients, worked short-staffed, and are experiencing pandemic fatigue.”

Maintaining the highest level of protection in high-risk environments is essential. While opinions on direction will always vary, our top priority is the safety of those we serve; including our staff and physicians.”

In addition to continuing to require masking, active screening of all individuals entering hospital facilities will be maintained. COVID-19 Vaccination Policies that require all new physicians, staff, midwives, volunteers and contractors to be fully vaccinated will also remain in place.

With these practices in place, individuals are reminded that getting vaccinated and boosted remains the best protection against serious illness and hospitalization from COVID-19. In addition, hospitals urge everyone to continue with public health recommendations such as masking where physical distancing is not possible, staying home if unwell, and regular hand washing. In an effort to limit the number of people in hospital, STEGH is urging those who don’t need to accompany or visit with a patient to stay home. The use of technology to connect with loved ones through virtual options, like FaceTime, or telephone calls is encouraged. Anyone experiencing non-urgent health issues is asked to seek care through walk-in clinics and family doctors. Those experiencing urgent issues are encouraged to seek care at the hospital.

Organizations supporting this announcement include: the Alexandra Hospital, Alexandra Marine & General Hospital, Grey Bruce Health Services, Hanover and District Hospital, Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance, Listowel Wingham Hospital Alliance, London Health Sciences Centre, Middlesex Hospital Alliance, St. Joseph’s Health Care London, South Bruce Grey Health Centre, South Huron Hospital Association, Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital, and Woodstock Hospital.