COVID-19 Preparedness Impacts Other Medical Issues at Hospital and Elsewhere

In the medical community, it seems like it’s all COVID, all the time, but for people with more regular medical issues, it might be harder in the coming days to get the help you need. For instance, if you need to go to Guelph General Hospital in the immediate future, either as a visitor or a patient, then you need to be aware of some changes to policy.

In a media statement released late on Monday afternoon, Guelph General Hospital announced changes to their visitors policy. Unless you’re accessing the emergency department for care, anyone entering the hospital is being asked to use the main entrance behind the hospital. The Delhi Street entrance will be closed for the “foreseeable future.”

The hospital’s visiting hours are now 2 to 8 pm, and patients are being restricted to one visitor at a time, although some accommodation might be made for close relatives of terminally ill patients at the end of life.

Anyone visiting the hospital be screened at the main entrance before being allowed to enter the building “This simply means that when you come to the hospital, staff will ask you why you are here, your travel history and your health,” said Marianne Walker, President and CEO of Guelph General. “The safety of staff and patients is paramount.”

If you’re well, you will be allowed to sign in, and be given a green sticker to wear while you’re visiting the hospital. If you’re not well, you’re given a yellow sticker and taken to a “necessary care area.”

No one who is unwell will be allowed to enter the hospital as a visitor, and the hospital definition of wellness has three conditions. First, it means being free of the symptoms of COVID-19. Second, you need to have avoided contact with a person with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19. And finally, you cannot have had contact with a person with an acute respiratory illness who has been outside of Canada in the last 14 days.

In other new measures at the hospital, many elective tests, procedures, and surgeries for the next two weeks have been cancelled. The hospital also advises that circumstances are changing rapidly, and they might change with little notice.

Meanwhile at Other Health Agencies…

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, which is leading much of the local response to prepare for COVID-19, is putting much of it’s other programming on hold for the time being. Wee talk speech and language services, flu shots for kids 5 and under, and the distribution of Naloxone and harm reduction supplies are the only three Public Health programs that are running as usual. For a full list of programs on hold, click here.

Over at the Canadian Mental Health Association of Waterloo Wellington, they are shifting from face-to-face contact to virtual options. All appointments, groups and the walk-in services will be done online or by phone, while the Kitchener and Guelph offices of CMHA will only receive clients that need injections and clients who are in crisis. If you need help from CMHA and are not in crisis, you can call 1-844-CMHA-WW3 (264-2993).

Finally, the Guelph Community Health Centre has ceased all services until further notice with the exception of Consumption & Treatment Services and Primary Health Care Services. Outreach services will continue on a modified bases, counselling and team care will be done by phone and internet, and all non-essential appointments will be cancelled.

The Latest from the Ontario Government…

In late breaking news on Monday night, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario Dr. David Williams is recommending that Ontarians avoid large gatherings of 50 people or more. Further, Williams is recommending the closure of all recreational programs and libraries, private schools, daycares, church and faith settings, and all bars and restaurants excluding ones that can provide takeout or delivery.

“This is an evolving situation, and your role in helping to manage the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario is critical,” Williams said in a statement. “It is imperative that we take steps now and take steps together to reduce opportunities for transmission. I am asking for your cooperation in following the advice below as best you can over the coming weeks.”

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