Visiting Guidelines

COVID-19 Update for Visitors

In an effort to protect our vulnerable patient population and staff, visitation may be granted by the patient's health care team by appointment only. In order to maintain physical distancing, the number of visitors allowed on the unit at one time will be restricted. To ensure fairness, not every patient will receive a visitor each day. The health care team will schedule visits in an equitable manner.

Visiting Arrangements:

Visits are granted by the health care team in accordance with the patient's wishes. Visitors must call the patient's unit between 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. to request a visit for the following day. Same day requests will only be considered in special circumstances (i.e. patients who are palliative/actively dying)


Visitation is not permitted for COVID suspect or COVID confirmed patients (exceptions considered for COVID suspect or COVID positive patients who are palliative, actively dying, or require a support person for therapeutic reasons)

All visitors must be over the age of 18 and have a pre-arranged appointment scheduled with the patient's health care team. Visitors will not be granted access prior to their scheduled appointment. Scheduled appointments are not to exceed one hour in duration. Failure to adhere to Visiting Guidelines may impact future visiting privileges. 

  • Long stay patients (i.e. Complex Continuing Care, Integrated Stroke Unit, Rehab): Scheduled appointments occur (M-F) 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. (S-S) 2:30 - 3:30 p.m., as coordinated with the patient's health care team.
  • Patients in speciality areas (i.e. Critical Care, Palliative, and Women & Children's): Visits will continue to be managed on an individual basis, by the unit.  
  • Acute Care areas (i.e. Floors 2, 4, 5, Mental Health): Scheduled appointments occur between the hours of 3:00 - 7:00 p.m., as coordinated with the patient's health care team.
  • 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.  
  • Pediatric Patients: Children may be accompanied by ONE adult visitor.

The names of approved, confirmed visitors will be kept at the East and South entrances and will be verified by screeners prior to entry. 

Virtual visits using hospital provided electronic devices will continue to occur. 

Visitng 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.

Infection Control Measures:

  • Visitors who fail the screening will NOT be permitted to visit. 
  • Visitors will be provided with a mask and asked to perform hand hygiene and maintain physical distancing of 2 metres. 
  • Visitors must check in with the unit clerk when they arrive in the care area, prior to proceeding to the patient's room.

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. 

Visitors who fail the screen are not permitted to enter.  

Staff who fail the screen are directed to Occupational Health for further consult. 

Universal Masking 

At St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH), our highest priority is the health of our patients, visitors and staff. To this end, everyone is required to wear a mask while visiting our hospital. Masks are used to protect others from the wearer.
What type of mask is allowed?
All patients and visitors will be provided with a Level 1 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 (see below). 
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).
Do inpatients have to wear masks?
Inpatients are not required to wear masks, unless they have COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19.
How do I safely put on and take off my mask?
To put on your mask:
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, scrubbing thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.
  • Grasp the mask by its ear loops to it pick up.
  • Place the inside of the mask over your face, putting the loops behind your ears.
  • Avoid touching the inside of the mask.
  • Pinch the nose piece to fit the mask to your face.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
To take your mask off:
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, scrubbing thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.
  • Remove the mask by holding the ear loops.
  • Inspect it. If it is dirty, torn, or wet, ask for a new one and discard the old one.
  • If the mask is not visibly soiled or torn, carefully place it with outside facing the table on a paper towel.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer.