Media Advisory: London Hospitals introduce new Masking Guidelines

London Hospitals introduce new Masking Guidelines

(LONDON, Ontario) – Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, London hospitals have worked closely with our partners in infection prevention and control to ensure patients, staff, physicians and visitors are safe and protected while in our hospitals. As we move towards living with COVID-19, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), St. Joseph’s Health Care London (St. Joseph’s) and our partner hospitals throughout the South West Region are adjusting our policies to better reflect the current health and safety risks.

Effective Monday, April 24, London hospitals will introduce new masking policies that align with guidelines released by Public Health Ontario.

Dr. Mike Silverman
Dr. Michael Silverman

“It’s clear the COVID-19 pandemic had entered a new phase, and it’s time for a new approach to masking for patients, staff, physicians and visitors,” says Dr. Michael Payne, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control at LHSC. “The vast majority of Ontarians have either been vaccinated or exposed to the virus in some way which means the risks are lower right now and our masking guidelines can be relaxed.”

“This change is part of our ongoing efforts to ensure resident/patient and staff safety while recognizing changes in the nature of the pandemic and direction from public health experts,” adds Dr. Michael Silverman, Chief of Infectious Diseases and Medical Director – Infection Safety at St. Joseph’s.

What This Means for You

For patients/visitors:

  • You are no longer required to wear masks in common areas of the hospitals including hallways, cafeterias, elevators, lobbies and foyers.
  • At LHSC, we recommend that you wear a mask in care settings when meeting or speaking directly with staff or physicians especially in our Emergency Departments, the London Regional Cancer Program, clinical waiting rooms, and Ambulatory Clinics.
  • At St. Joseph’s, all patients and visitors will continue to be asked to wear a mask when in our clinical areas and in direct contact with health care workers, other patients and in waiting rooms.
  • Patients with a fever or respiratory symptoms are required to mask in all clinical and non-clinical settings (except if in an inpatient room or bed space).
  • Masks will continue to be available for anyone that prefers to wear one in all settings.
For staff/physicians:
  • At LHSC, masking will still be required in both inpatient and outpatient settings when staff or physicians are providing direct patient care. This may vary depending on the care setting.
  • At St. Joseph’s masking is required in all clinical areas, including hallways in clinical areas. Masks may be removed in main corridors.

We would like to thank you for your ongoing support as we move from an active pandemic to de-escalation. As always, we will continue to assess our infection safety precautions on an ongoing basis.

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About London Health Sciences Centre

With roots going back a century and a half, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), is an award-winning, research-intensive acute tertiary and quaternary teaching hospital, one of only 14 such hospitals in Ontario. LHSC is also home to Children’s Hospital, one of just four acute tertiary care paediatric hospitals in the province.  Our unique place in the health system positions us well to inform and advise on provincial, national and international health policy. We are the cornerstone of care for many specialized programs and services in Western Ontario. And, as a major provider of emergency care and through our community hospital mission, we also care for the more than 400,000 people who call London home as well as many in surrounding communities. With Ontario’s health system continuing its transformation, LHSC has an opportunity to inform it and to place itself at the locus of the regionalized health system by virtue of its size, specialized capabilities, research and education capacity and its current regional footprint. LHSC’s formal relationship and strong bond with Western University provide a mechanism for collaboration to enable the delivery of high-quality care through a process of continuous learning and research.  At its core, the affiliation is a reciprocal relationship that leverages the learning, teaching and care environments of both Western University and LHSC. LHSC is a 15,000-person strong team of physicians, staff and volunteers – collaborators, innovators and pioneers, meeting the care needs of those we serve and charting a course for the future.

About St. Joseph’s Health Care London

Renowned for compassionate care, St. Joseph’s Health Care London is a leading academic health care centre in Canada dedicated to helping people live to their fullest by minimizing the effects of injury, disease and disability through excellence in care, teaching and research. Through partnership with Lawson Health Research Institute and our collaborative engagement with other health care and academic partners, St. Joseph’s has become an international leader in the areas of chronic disease management; medical imaging; specialized mental health care; rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics; and surgery.  St. Joseph’s operates through a wide range of hospital, clinic and long-term and community-based settings, including: St. Joseph’s Hospital; Parkwood Institute; Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care; and the Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care.

For media inquiries contact:

Kelsi Break
St. Joseph’s Health Care London
Communication & Public Affairs
519-646-6100 ext. 64792

Steve Robinson
Senior Media Relations Consultant
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500 ext. 35947

After-hours assistance:

Call St. Joseph’s switchboard at 519-646-6100 and ask to page the communicator on-call.

Call LHSC Switchboard at 519-685-8500 and ask to page the communicator on-call.

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