It should be a force of habit by now, but Guelph General Hospital is joining the list of places where you will have to show proof vaccination if you want to pop by. Starting on November 9, the Hospital will be initiating a proof of vaccination requirement for many of the people visiting the hospital in what their management is calling an additional step to ensure the health and safety of staff and patients.
“Our goal is to balance the value essential visitors have in a patient’s healing process with the need to do everything we can to provide a safe environment for patients, staff and eventually volunteers,” said VP Patient Services and Chief Nursing Executive Melissa Skinner in a statement. “Now it is more important than ever to take every step we can to further support the safety and well-being of those who receive care, visit, or work our hospital.”
There are exemptions. You will not have to show proof of vaccination if you’re visiting someone in the emergency department, critical care patients, patients who need support, pediatric patients, and patients experiencing pregnancy loss. A support person for women in labour and who are post-partum will also be exempt.
Additionally, Skinner wants to make one very important exemption to the Hospital’s mandate perfectly clear. “No one will be denied care based on their vaccination status,” she said.
If the November 9 date sounds familiar, it’s because that’s also the day that the Hospital’s vaccine mandate for staff goes into effect. Last week, 31 staff members were put on an unpaid leave of absence for not being in compliance with the Hospital’s policy to have every staff member vaccinated against COVID-19. The staff members have until November 9 to be in compliance, or that temporary leave will become permanent.
The news comes at the end of a very significant week in terms of COVID-19 developments:
*As announced Friday, most public locations that require customers to show their proof of vaccination will be allowed to lift their capacity limits starting Monday including restaurants and personal care businesses. The Government of Ontario is also anticipating an end to all COVID restrictions by the end of March.
*As of Wednesday, Guelph is now 90 per cent fully vaccinated among the eligible population.
*On Monday, the City of Guelph revealed that 93 per cent of staff have been fully vaccinated, with 138, mostly part-time, employees now subject to testing every 48 hours, or 48 hours in advance of their shift if they’re a part-timer.