St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital, in a statement Wednesday, Nov. 10, noted that a rising number of patients were being admitted with COVID-19, “all of whom are unvaccinated.”
Cases in the Southwestern Public Health region of Elgin, St. Thomas and Oxford “are rising at an alarming rate,” the hospital continued. “STEGH is experiencing our highest surge in COVID-19 patient volume since the start of the pandemic, which is very concerning for our community.”
On Tuesday, STEGH had announced that, in addition to employees, all “essential caregivers” visiting patients in hospital would have to be fully-vaccinated effective Monday, Nov. 15.
“The purpose of this policy change is to maintain patient and staff safety. This is achieved by adding an additional layer of protection through vaccination with limited exposure to unvaccinated individuals. We care for many vulnerable patients and the best way to ensure their protection from COVID-19 is to adhere to routine infection control practices, along with vaccination.
“We understand that limiting visitation is difficult for patients and their families. Our top priority is, and has always been, ensuring the safety of those in our care.”
The only possible exceptions to the new policy would involve visitors to patients in labour and deliver, patients “who are palliative or actively dying” and pediatric patients and that would be subject to the patient’s care team.