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Southlake adds new restrictions for visitors

"(We) have made the decision to restrict visiting to help protect our staff and patients," said the hospital's chief nursing officer, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the community
XX2020-09-01 Southlake landscape view KC
File photo/NewmarketToday

There are new restrictions in place for visitors at Southlake Regional Health Centre, as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in York Region during the second wave of the pandemic.

The new restrictions are necessary, and it is critical that anyone coming to visit the Newmarket hospital follow them to the letter, Chief Nursing Officer Annette Jones said.

"Southlake is committed to our staff and patient's safety and has made the decision to restrict visiting to help protect our staff and patients as we see a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the communities we serve," said Jones.

"All visitors, where permitted, must wear a medical-grade mask covering their nose and mouth at all times, remain at the patient's bedside practising physical distancing. For designated care partners, please bring proof of your negative COVID-19 test when you come. All visitors should be within the patient's household social circle as defined by the Ontario Government."

If you don't qualify to visit under the new rules, there are alternative options.

"Although not quite the same, we are pleased to facilitate video chat communication between patients and families using their personal devices or by sending a request to virtualvisit@southlake.ca," Jones said.

"We want to thank our patients and family members for working together with us through these unprecedented times."

Here is a slightly condensed list of the updated visitation rules. For a more detailed list of all requirements, including for the emergency department, click here

Updated visitor restrictions

  • Visiting hours will be from noon to 6 p.m. for a maximum of one hour.
  • Only one designated visitor and one alternate visitor per patient.
  • Designated care partners can still visit 24/7 to provide care such as feeding, bathing, toileting, mobilization, etc. 
  • Designated visitors should be within the patient's household social circle. But they must verbally attest that they have tested negative for the coronavirus in the past two weeks. 
  • No eating or drinking because this has been a source of outbreaks in Toronto/GTA hospitals. In-and-out privileges are available so visitors can eat in their cars.
  • Visitors can buy food and drink from hospital vendors to bring to patients, but all common sitting areas such as the cafeteria and halls are closed.
  • Visitors must follow infection control practices, such as wearing a mask at all times.

Other general guidelines for all visitors

  • Stay home if you are sick or are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild.
  • You will be screened each time you enter the hospital.
  • If you do not meet the criteria to be a visitor, you will not be let into the hospital.
  • Clean your hands frequently with hand sanitizer or soap and water.
  • Bandanas, scarves and one-way valve masks are not permitted to be used as face masks. 
  • The mask must cover both your mouth and nose at all times.
  • You will be given a visitor sticker to wear, which must be visible at all times.
  • A maximum of five people permitted in an elevator at a time.