After already changing their rules for visitors once earlier this week, Guelph General Hospital announced further restrictions last night that will more severely limited who can visit the hospital, and when. Guelph General is one of many hospitals in Ontario to take more drastic action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 from within their own doors.
Starting Wednesday, there will be no visitors allowed at Guelph General Hospital unless under a few, clearly defined exemptions. If you are close relative of a patient who is terminally ill and near the end of life, if you are a parent of child under 18, or if you’re a partner or support person for someone giving birth, then you’re still allowed to visit. Each patient though is still only allowed one visitor at a time.
The only other exception is if a visitor is needed to support a family member with a particular need, like a dementia patient with increased agitation.
In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, Guelph General CEO Marianne Walker acknowledged the rapid pace of change in responding to the situation, and the difficulty that the hospital is experiencing as it tries to keep up.
“We’re really challenged with all that is coming at us, and our main focus will continue to be your safety, our staff, physicians, and volunteers,” said Walker. “You’re going to see some changes, and this is a very fluid because what we are doing is we’re following directives from the chief medical officer, and this is changing on a regular basis.”
Cambridge Memorial Hospital has taken similar measures, and is advising that non-urgent and non-life threatening cases at the their hospital might be facing longer than normal wait times. Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital in Kitchener will also begin similar restrictive measures for visitors starting tomorrow, but that’s not the only challenge those institutions are presently facing.
“Hand sanitizer and masks are of greatest need at this time,” said the hospitals in a joint statement to CTV News. “N-95 respirator masks, surgical masks, and procedural masks will be considered.”
Back in Guelph, Walker took a moment to acknowledge the people working the frontlines of the pandemic.
“The other thing I do want to talk about is our dedicated staff,” she said. “It’s amazing how our team has come together in these challenging times, and I have to really say that I believe they are the heroes. I heard someone in the community say that to me today, and I couldn’t agree more.”
Photo Credit: Guelph General Hospital CEO Marianne Walker at a funding announcement at the South End Emergency Centre in November 2019.