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April 4, 2003

Debbie Neufert
Media Relations, LHSC
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500, ext. 74772

Jayne Graham
Communication Consultant
St. Joseph’s Health Care London
pager 690-4103

Clarification to Provincial SARS Directives

London Hospitals working to safeguard patients, healthcare workers and the public

(LONDON, Ontario) London Hospitals want to clarify to the public that contrary to earlier reports, they are not operating at full capacity.

Currently, London Hospitals are in the early stages of planning, insofar as possible, an increase to elective surgical and outpatient clinical activity in order to comply with the most recent information from The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. We are still awaiting the specific revised directives from the Ministry.

At a teleconference with Ministry officials last night and again this morning, it was clarified that hospitals need to determine their own capability in order to balance the reinstatement of services and the need to continue to comply with all other SARS directives which continue to be in place. These directives include screening for SARS and all other infection control protocols such as visitor restrictions, limited staff movement, and no volunteers at the hospitals. It is important for us to reinforce to the public that the visitor restrictions are still in place.

Over the next few days both hospitals will continue to work with their medical leaders to plan the re-opening of specific operating rooms and outpatient clinics.

In the meantime, London Hospitals will maintain their current level of activity providing care for emergency and urgent cases only.