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

The main entrance at the Grand River Hospital in Kitchener. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

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

Both St. Mary’s General Hospital and Grand River Hospital say they are opening the door to more visitors for patients in the future but those visitors will have to be fully vaccinated.

Read more: Ontario NDP leader calls for health-care hiring and retention plan during London, Ont. visit

The hospitals say the move was made to protect both staff and patients from the virus.

“Mandatory vaccinations within the hospital puts one more layer of protection around everyone so that care partners, physicians, staff and volunteers can work together to support the patient, safely,” stated Lee Fairclough, president of St. Mary’s General Hospital.

“Through the enhanced protection that this additional measure will provide, St. Mary’s will be able to welcome more Care Partners into the hospital which is a very positive thing for our patients’ overall wellbeing.”

Story continues below advertisement

Bonnie Camm, executive vice-president of clinical services at Grand River Hospital, stated, “Care partners are an integral part of a patient’s journey.”

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

The hospitals say the new protocol takes effect on Nov. 9 and will not be implemented to patients.

Read more: Grand River Hospital — 136 staff, physicians not vaccinated against COVID-19, placed on unpaid leave

Grand River Hospital staff will begin checking for vaccination status on Friday but all caregivers will be permitted into the hospitals until the new rule comes into effect.

Until the new rule takes effect, caregivers will be permitted to visit regardless of their vaccination status.

SMGH says that they are only opening the doors to care partners at this time as visitors will still not be permitted. These are people who are considered essential to a patient’s well-being.

For those unable to visit, virtual visits will remain an option.

Sponsored content