TORONTO — Several Ontario hospitals are enacting mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for visitors, in addition to mandates for their staff.
University Health Network in Toronto, which enacted an early vaccine mandate for staff that went beyond a provincial directive, is now planning to ask visitors for proof of full vaccination starting Oct. 22.
Spokeswoman Gillian Howard says the hospital network cares for some of the most immune-compromised and immune-suppressed people in the province, so they want to do everything possible to protect the patients.
Beginning on Oct. 25, Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga and west Toronto will require proof of vaccination from people going to visit patients, except for partners of patients in labour and delivery, patients at the end of life, pediatric patients, and those in the emergency department.
They say they will not be accepting a negative test in lieu of full vaccination for all other visitors, in order to devote staff resources to focus on patient care.
Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance says it will require family and caregivers to be fully vaccinated starting Nov. 1, with similar exceptions as Trillium Health Partners.
“Our primary responsibility to those needing our hospitals for care and to our team is to provide as safe an environment as possible,” president and CEO Andrew Williams said in a statement.
“Requiring full vaccination against COVID-19 is one of the best ways of achieving this.”
Ontario reported 306 cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, and 12 more deaths. It’s the lowest number of daily new cases since early August.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said 202 cases are in people who are not fully vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status.
There are 153 people in intensive care units due to COVID-19 — 14 are fully vaccinated, six are partially vaccinated, 68 are unvaccinated, and the remaining 65 have an unknown vaccination status.
The province reported 269 new school-related cases, though that represents cases logged between last Friday and Tuesday.
More than 87 per cent of eligible Ontarians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 82.5 per cent have both doses.