Several hospitals in Ontario are updating their visitor policies amid a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.
As of today, Unity Health Toronto, a network of hospitals consisting of St. Joseph’s Health Center, St. Michael’s Hospital, and Providence Healthcare, says that every inpatient who has a stay of less than seven days will not be allowed a visit.
An inpatient who is anticipated to have a hospital stay of more than seven days can identify two designated visitors, with one authorized to visit within a 24-hour period, provided they show proof of vaccination and identification.
Unity Health Toronto notes that inpatient visits will last for a maximum of three hours, while patients attending outpatient clinic and outpatient surgery or emergency department appointments will generally not be able to receive visits.
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The University Health Network, another Toronto hospital network, is announcing similar changes, with patients not being allowed in the hospital for less than seven days.
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The Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto also updated its visitor policy today, and inpatients are allowed only one fully vaccinated designated visitor each day during regular visiting hours, with a few exceptions.
Sunnybrook says that only outpatients with “significant needs” will be allowed a pre-approved chaperone.
In Dryden, Ontario, the Dryden Regional Health Center said that each patient will only be allowed one designated essential visitor, who is identified by the patient and is “paramount to the critical care and / or mental health of the patient.” The health center said all visitors must be fully vaccinated and provide proof of a negative antigen test taken within the last 48 hours.
Last week, Ontario introduced improved measures across the province in nursing homes and long-term care in light of the highly communicable Omicron variant.
Restrictions include preventing visitors who are not fully vaccinated from visiting loved ones within the facility, limiting indoor visits to a maximum of two people per resident at a time, and outdoor visits, when possible, to a maximum total of four people per resident at a time.
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