Changes at LHSC due to COVID-19 precautions

STATEMENT

For Immediate Release:
March 16, 2020

The COVID-19 situation is evolving in Ontario and we continue to take actions to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and protect our staff, physicians and patients. As a result, a number of changes in our day-to-day operations are being made at this time:

Surgical and ambulatory care volume reductions
In planning for clinical services, and alignment with the provincial directive, LHSC will begin ramping down elective surgeries and other non-emergent clinical activity. We are doing this to preserve capacity as cases of COVID-19 continue to grow in Ontario. 

Effective March 17, elective surgical cases will be postponed, and only urgent and emergency surgeries will proceed for the safety of our staff and physicians, and other patients. This will also increase our clinical capacity and pandemic responsiveness. Clinical and physician leaders are working in partnership to plan for the reductions. 

Effective, March 17 ambulatory care volumes will also be decreasing. Ambulatory clinics will be limited to urgent and emergent cases to help increase social distancing. There will be special consideration for cancer care, renal care, and mental health care.

Essential services, such as trauma, stroke, cardiac and transplant, will continue to be provided to our patients. 

Any patient whose appointment or procedure is impacted by these reductions, will receive direct communication from their physician to discuss their ongoing care plan. 

Perimeter screening
As of 7 am on March 17, perimeter screening of hospital buildings will be in effect. There will be separate entrances for staff and physicians, and patients and visitors. Patients and visitors will be actively screened to help quickly identify patients who have signs and symptoms of illness upon entering the hospital. 

Signage will be posted at doors, and maps of Victoria Hospital and University Hospital indicating which entrances are accessible to patients and visitors have been posted online.

Visitor restrictions
Effective immediately, visitor restrictions at LHSC have changed. Adult inpatients and those visiting ambulatory clinics will be permitted one visitor at a time, with no one under 18 permitted to visit. Paediatric inpatients and those visiting ambulatory clinics will be permitted two visitors at a time, with no one under 18 permitted to visit. These restrictions are in addition to the previously communicated restrictions for the Emergency Department of one visitor for adult patients, and two visitors for patients in the Children’s Hospital Emergency Department. 

As this situation continues to evolve, we will provide updates via media statement as appropriate.  


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