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All Ottawa hospitals to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for visitors

The Ottawa Hospital says only essential caregivers will be allowed to visit patients starting Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Hospitals in Ottawa are rolling out policies to require most, if not all, visitors to their campuses to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Ottawa Hospital said in a brief statement on Thursday that, in line with Ontario’s recently implemented proof of vaccination requirements, it will extend its own COVID-19 vaccine requirements to people visiting the hospital.

“Beginning September 27, The Ottawa Hospital will require proof of vaccination for visitors entering the hospital. This is to ensure the safety of everyone in the hospital,” the statement read.

Read more: Small crowd protests COVID-19 vaccine mandates at The Ottawa Hospital

A spokesperson for the hospital confirmed to Global News that visitors will need to show proof of being 14 days removed from their second dose of a Health Canada-approved vaccine.

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Ontario residents can download their proof of vaccination in a PDF via the provincial COVID-19 website.

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The spokesperson also confirmed that recent negative COVID-19 tests results will not suffice for access to the hospital. But some exceptions could be made “based on compassionate grounds” that will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Other hospitals in Ottawa tell Global News they already have similar policies in place or plan to implement one shortly. None have said they will make vaccination a condition of receiving care at the hospital.

Montfort Hospital in the city’s east end started asking visitors accompanying patients to the hospital about their vaccination status on Wednesday.

Beginning Oct. 6, visitors to Montfort will need to show they have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days, though exceptions may be made for family caregivers or otherwise compassionate reasons.

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Read more: 136 KHSC staff placed on unpaid leave for not complying to vaccine mandate

A spokesperson for the west-end Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH) also confirmed it plans to require visitors to be vaccinated but is still working out exact policy details. The QCH’s mandate will also include some “limited exceptions.”

The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), which was the first locally to require vaccinations for all staff on site, already has a vaccine policy in place for all visitors as of Wednesday.

Parents and caregivers of the hospital’s young patients, however, are not considered “visitors” and are not required to be vaccinated in order to accompany kids receiving care.

The Bruyère continuing care hospital will require proof of vaccinations for all inpatient visitors but not those accompanying those receiving outpatient care. Like CHEO, similar exemptions are made for parents and essential caregivers of patients who are not fully vaccinated.

Bruyère said in a statement that it started informing visitors about the new policy on Thursday but has not yet announced a date when the mandate will take effect.

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