Mask Mandate To Remain In Place At OSMH Beyond June 11

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Photo courtesy of Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital

While masking requirements in other high-risk areas like public transit will expire tomorrow, hospitals in Ontario Health’s Central region, which includes OSMH, have confirmed their commitment to keep patients, staff, visitors, volunteers and vendors safe through a continuation of the masking requirement within these facilities.

Health experts have agreed that continued use of masking in hospital settings remains a simple and necessary safeguard. Masking helps prevent the most vulnerable patients from contracting COVID-19.  It can also prevent transmission of COVID-19 to health-care providers, keeping people healthy and at work. Hospitals across the province are challenged with Health Human Resources and all efforts must be made to prevent further transmission of COVID-19 within hospitals.

While each hospital will be responsible for its own entry and welcome procedures, when arriving at Central Region hospitals, patients and families will continue to be required to wear a mask. Masks will be provided to those who arrive without one.

This direction aligns with a statement provided June 8, 2022 by the Ontario Hospital Association that recommended that the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) Order regarding mandatory masking for patients, caregivers, visitors and other members of the public in hospital settings, issued under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, be maintained.

Hospitals in Central Region thank the public for its continued support of our frontline health-care workers and volunteers, as our system continues to recover from the pandemic.  Together, we can continue to keep our hospitals safe, so they can be there for those in need.

“Why continue with masks in hospitals?  Although reduced, COVID-19 transmission is still happening and masks are a simple strategy that keeps people safe.   In addition, masking will allow us to safely open up to more visitors.   Plans are well underway to increase the number of visitors across the hospital without the need to pre-register in advance.   We value the presence of caregivers within the hospital and look forward to seeing more family supports in our facility.  More information will be made available next week.

Lifting precautions is only one part of COVID recovery.   We continue to work through the tremendous backlog in surgeries and other procedures of well over 1,000 cases.    This is taking longer than anyone would like.

Pandemic-related labour shortages are a reality across many industries and healthcare is no exception.   OSMH continues to recruit individuals to join our amazing team but it takes time to train new staff, particularly in specialized areas like the Emergency Department or Operating Room.  Our people remain our top priority so we can better serve our community.

For the patients who have been waiting patiently at home for their surgical procedure or in our Emergency Department for their care, our teams are doing their best to provide excellent, compassionate care.  Your patience is appreciated.

That last part of COVID recovery is planning ahead.   While there is reason for optimism as we go into the summer, we also know that the Fall will bring a new season of respiratory illness, including the possibility of more COVID-19.

Enough said about that.  Its summer, isn’t it?   Let’s all focus on re-opening sensibly as we continue to work through our current challenges, knowing we are planning ahead as One Community.” – Carmine Stumpo, President & CEO, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital

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