As pandemic measures ease with the loosening of provincial restrictions, Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) is moving to passive screening of everyone entering the building effective Thursday, July 28, 2022.
This means that all outpatients and visitors will be required to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms and potential exposure consistent with signage posted at the entrances prior to entering the hospitals. Having passed screening, outpatients and visitors are required to sanitize their hands and put on a hospital-issued mask from the supply of masks provided. This is a change from active screening where those entering were posed a series of questions about their own health or possible exposure to COVID-19. Staff and volunteers will be available to provide support during this transition.
At the same time, MAHC is updating its visiting policy to permit those under the age of 18 to visit inpatients. Other visitor requirements remain unchanged and permit two people to visit per day between visiting hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. In line with MAHC’s universal masking remains, the inpatient must also wear a hospital-issued mask while any visitor is present in the patient’s room. Visiting may commence after the inpatient has received a negative COVID-19 swab result. For everyone’s safety, outdoor visiting with a patient on hospital grounds must be approved in advance.
Emergency Department patients continue to be permitted to have one visitor and efforts to maintain physical distancing are appreciated. Visiting exceptions are in place for critically ill, palliative and dying patients and other exceptions must be approved by the care team.
As MAHC tries to limit the number of non-essential people in the hospitals, we regret that support people are not permitted to attend with a patient except for special circumstances where a support person is necessary.
“MAHC is doing its best to find an appropriate balance between loosening restrictions and our obligation to keep patients and families safe while the COVID-19 pandemic is still very much with us,” says Cheryl Harrison, President and CEO. “Please remember that COVID-19 policies are subject to change to react to our local situation. Do your part to keep our staff and patients safe by cleaning your hands often, keeping physical distance between you and others, and getting vaccinated against COVID-19. As you come and go from the hospital please be patient with these changes.”
While visitation is a positive support to the patient experience and improves patient outcomes, visitors who fail self-screening are encouraged to refrain from entering the hospital for everyone’s safety.