Kitchener hospitals to require visiting care partners to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19

On Tuesday, Kitchener’s two top hospitals announced upcoming requirements for care partners to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Both St. Mary’s General Hospital and Grand River Hospital say they’ll open the door to more patients in the future, but those visitors need to be fully vaccinated.

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The hospitals say the measure was taken to protect both staff and patients from the virus.

“The mandatory vaccinations within the hospital provide another layer of protection so that caregivers, doctors, staff and volunteers can work together to safely support the patient,” said Lee Fairclough, president of St. Mary’s General Hospital.

“With the improved protection that this additional measure provides, St. Mary’s can welcome more caregivers to the hospital, which is very positive for the general well-being of our patients.”

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Bonnie Camm, Executive Vice President of Clinical Services at Grand River Hospital, said, “Caregiver partners are an integral part of a patient’s journey.”

“We want to enable this level of support while ensuring that we include this additional measure to protect the health and well-being of patients, staff and our community.”

Hospitals say the new protocol will go into effect on November 9th and will not be applied to patients.

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Grand River Hospital staff will begin checking vaccination status on Friday, but all caregivers will be allowed to enter the hospitals until the new rule goes into effect.

Until the new regulation comes into force, caregivers may come to visit regardless of their vaccination status.

SMGH says they are currently only opening doors to care partners as visitors continue to be banned. These are people who are considered essential to the patient’s wellbeing.

For those who cannot visit, virtual visits remain an option.

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