Most COVID-19 visitor restrictions lifted, but a universal masking policy remains in place
Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) has made changes to its COVID-19 Visiting Guidelines. Effective Monday, July 11th, most COVID-19 visiting restrictions were lifted. The daily maximum of two visitors or essential caregivers is no longer in place, and an open visiting policy (no set visiting hours) is in force.
The move follows consultation with NHH Patient and Family Advisors, front-line staff, physicians and infection prevention and control leaders and informed by the province’s removal of all public health Directives related to COVID-19.
However, visitors to NHH will be expected to self-screen for symptoms of COVID-19 or other illness. This is a change from active screening, which required visitors to answer a series of questions posed by hospital staff regarding their current health or possible exposure to COVID-19 prior to entering, to passive screening, where visitors will be accountable for deciding for themselves if they are ill or at risk of a potential exposure.
If you are experiencing symptoms of any kind hospital staff ask, for the safety of your loved ones and others, please postpone your visit to patients in the hospital.
Instructions will be available at all three entrances (Main Entrance, Dialysis and Emergency Department) and volunteers will be available during peak visiting hours to help visitors and patients understand the new process and answer questions.
Universal masking policy remains in place
As a high-risk setting, NHH’s universal masking policy remains in place throughout the hospital and Community Mental Health offices. Visitors will continue to have access to free masks on entry to the hospital and NHH’s Community Mental Health offices and will be asked to keep their medical-grade mask on at all times (or over top of their personal cloth mask) while inside, unless eating or drinking in designated areas. No eating or drinking is permitted by visitors in patient rooms.
According to Susan Walsh, President and CEO, “We will be monitoring the situation closely and should local or in-hospital circumstances change, we will revisit our decision and revise accordingly. Without a doubt, we recognize the important role visitors play in health and healing. At the same time, we are also mindful of the fact that COVID-19 is still circulating in the community. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of everyone’s continued diligence with regard to masking and self-screening to minimize the risk of spread of COVID-19 within the facility.”