Protecting our community during respiratory season
As we enter the fall respiratory virus season, St. Joseph’s Health Care London (St. Joseph’s) and London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) are joining hospitals across the region in adjusting masking guidelines to better reflect the current health and safety risks.
Effective Wednesday, October 4, LHSC and St. Joseph’s will introduce revised masking requirements.
“Updated masking guidelines, in combination with other protective measures like staying up to date on vaccinations, is part of our responsive strategy this respiratory season,” adds Dr. Michael Silverman, Chair/Chief, Infectious Diseases in London, and Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control and the Infectious Diseases Care Program at St. Joseph’s. “Protecting our patients, residents, staff and community is paramount.”
“The fall respiratory season is upon us, and as we expected, it’s time for a renewed approach,” says Dr. Kevin Chan, Corporate Medical Executive at LHSC. “Changes to our masking guidelines are aligned with recommendations through Public Health Ontario, and our regional hospital partners, to help ensure staff, physicians, volunteers, patients, visitors and our community remain protected while respiratory viruses circulate this fall and winter.”
What This Means for You
- At St. Joseph’s, we recommend all patients and visitors wear a mask in our waiting rooms, Urgent Care Centre, inpatient and outpatient settings and when in direct contact with a health care worker.
- At LHSC, it is recommended that you wear a mask in all clinical areas and care settings when meeting with or speaking directly to a health care worker, especially in the Emergency Departments, the London Regional Cancer Program, clinical waiting rooms, and Ambulatory Clinics.
- Patients at LHSC and St. Joseph’s 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 and not receiving direct care with a healthcare worker).
- Masks will continue to be available at all hospital entrances.
- Masking will be required for all direct patient contact in both inpatient and outpatient clinical settings, including waiting rooms and in LHSC’s Emergency Department and St. Joseph’s Urgent Care Centre.
- Masks are recommended but will not be required in common spaces including team stations, hallways, break spaces, cafeterias, office spaces, auditoriums, communication desks, and/or laboratories.
- Masks will continue to be available at all entrances and in care settings.
We would like to thank patients, families, and the community for their ongoing support as we move towards these new requirements and recommendations to ensure our hospital communities are protected throughout the respiratory season. As always, we will continue to assess our infection prevention and control safety measures on an ongoing basis.