Coronavirus: Hamilton hospitals implement no-visitor policy during COVID-19 pandemic

St. Joseph’s Healthcare and Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) hospitals — including Hamilton General and Juravinski hospitals — are no longer allowing visitors to their facilities as of Friday in an ongoing fight against the spread of the new coronavirus.

“The policy is being introduced as part of our ongoing efforts to protect the public, patients, staff and physicians from the potential transmission of the COVID-19 virus,” said St. Joe’s spokesperson Elaine Mitropoulos in a media release.

There are some limited exceptions for St. Joe’s, according to Mitropoulos, which include compassionate grounds for those who have connections to some palliative patients.

Other exceptions may be partners of women in labour and others with special needs.

The exceptions are to be determined by the hospital’s patient care team, according to the release.

St. Joe’s is recommending friends and family reach out to patients using free Wi-Fi, telephone and the hospital’s television services.

Meanwhile, HHS has adopted a similar policy that is set to be implemented as of noon Friday, discontinuing visits to its hospitals, including Hamilton General, Juravinski Hospital, Juravinski Cancer Centre, McMaster University Medical Centre, St. Peter’s Hospital and West Lincoln Memorial Hospital.

“We are doing this to maintain a safe environment for our patients, staff and physicians,” HHS spokesperson Lillian Badzioch said in a press release Friday morning.

HHS said its exceptions — to be approved by a clinical manager or delegate — include those who have a connection to a pediatric patient with COVID-19, ambulatory clinics, the emergency department, patients having surgery or a partner who is pregnant or in labour.

Other exceptions, such as end-of-life scenarios, will also be considered for entry.

On Tuesday, St. Joe’s began COVID-19 screening protocols for staff, patients and visitors at its health-care facilities.

HHS began a similar program on Thursday.

Those protocols are expected to continue, minus the now-banned visitors.

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