Visiting Guidelines Covid-19
COVID-19 Update for Visitors
Last updated: May 25, 2021
Please note: Everyone who enters the hospital must participate in the mandatory screening process, wear a hospital-issued mask and sanitize their hands. This includes individuals (patients, staff and essential visitors) who have been vaccinated.
St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital implemented restricted visiting guidelines on April 2, 2021 to keep patients, families and our health care teams safe.
STEGH continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation locally and may be required to change/update the visitation policy in response to local COVID-19 activity.
STEGH is allowing limited visitation to *essential caregivers only. Essential caregivers will be assessed based on discussion with the patient and their health care team.
*Who is considered an Essential Caregiver?
An essential caregiver is an individual who is necessary for the safety and well-being of a patient while they are inside the hospital and who is essential for a patient who would otherwise be at risk if the essential caregiver were not present. Essential caregivers do not have to be living with the patient or biologically related to the patient. Essential caregivers must be 18 years of age.
Essential caregivers are permitted:
- For any pediatric patients;
- For patients in labour and delivery;
- To support patients who are palliative or actively dying;
- To assist patients with any physical or cognitive impairment;
- To support any critically ill patient;
- For any patients who require:
- Feeding, mobility & personal hygiene assistance;
- Cognitive stimulation & communication assistance;
- Meaningful connection & relational continuity;
- Decision making support.
Essential caregivers are expected to follow public health measures, including:
- Scheduling a visit
- Passing the screening process
- Wearing a hospital-issued mask and additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as indicated by a member of the health care team
- Maintaining physical distancing
- Restricting movement throughout the hospital
Outpatient Care Areas and Day Surgery
Patients who are physically frail, patients with dementia, patients who are non-verbal or disabled and require a support person are able to have ONE support person accompany them. Please coordinate with the health care team in advance.
Visiting the Emergency Department
Children are allowed one parent or guardian when attending the Emergency Department. Individuals who are physically frail, have dementia, are non-verbal or disabled and require a support person are able to have one support person accompany them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you permitted to visit a new mom/baby? Can you accompany an elderly parent/grandparent to an appointment? Can you drop off food, clothing or books to a patient? Click here for answers to the most commonly asked questions.
Stay connected virtually
We recognize the impact of isolation for patients and families during this difficult time and we are doing everything we can to help patients and loved ones stay connected. If you have a family member at STEGH, please consider alternatives to in-person visits. The hospital supports the use of technology to connect with your loved ones through virtual options, like FaceTime, or telephone calls. Please speak to a member of your family member’s care team. You can also send a virtual greeting card to a patient in hospital.
Active Screening Upon Entry
Access into the hospital is limited to TWO entrances: East and South. Note: Emergency remains open 24/7.
Screeners actively screen all patients, approved visitors, and staff upon entry at all entrances by asking questions about:
- Symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, muscle aches, diarrhea, abdominal pain)
- Travel history
- Contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 patient
- Contact with person with acute respiratory illness who has travelled in the past 14 days
What if someone fails the screening process?
Patients who fail the screen are provided with a mask and asked to sanitize their hands. The department is contacted for direction before the patient is permitted to enter.
Universal Masking is in effect at STEGH.
What type of mask is allowed?
All patients and essential visitors will be provided with a hospital-approved mask upon entry to the hospital. Outside masks (including cloth masks) are not permitted. If you are wearing a mask from home, you will be provided a paper bag to store your mask until you leave.
When should I wear a mask?
Please leave your mask on the entire time you are inside the hospital. If you need to take it off to eat or drink, or as part of your medical appointment, first wash your hands and then remove your mask carefully, without touching your face.
Is anyone exempt from wearing a mask?
Pediatric patients under the age of four (4) are not required to wear a mask.
People with legitimate medical conditions that prevent them from safely wearing a mask will be exempt (i.e. those with difficulty breathing, extreme anxiety or other related mental health conditions). Patients and visitors who are mask exempt will be provided with a face shield and a sticker indicating that they are "mask exempt".*General visitors who are not mask exempt, but refuse to wear a mask will be denied entry.
Do inpatients have to wear masks?
Inpatients are not required to wear masks, except:
1) if they have COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19
2) when they leave their room for any reason (including a test or appointment in another department)
3) when out of bed for any reason in a shared room