Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for MGH patients and visitors

Last updated on January 5, 2022

The safety of our patients, visitors, families and caregivers is a top priority at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH). MGH has been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and continues to implement changes across the hospital to protect the health and safety of our community.  

Visitor requirements as of January 5, 2022: In response to increasing COVID-19 rates and the spread of the Omicron variant in our community, all visitors coming to see a patient at MGH will be required to complete a rapid antigen test upon arrival. Only visitors who test negative will be able to proceed for their visit. Visitors must also show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 at this time. Please see the “What to Expect” section below for more information.

Below, you will find important information for patients and visitors about what to do if you are planning on coming to the hospital. Please check this page before coming to the hospital to ensure you are up-to-date with the latest changes.

what to expect

In order to maintain the health and safety of our patients, staff, visitors and community at large, MGH has implemented the following entry restrictions and enhanced screening precautions:

Entering the Hospital

  • Entry into the hospital is restricted to the main entrance on Coxwell Avenue for all members of the public including patients, patient escorts, visitors, caregivers and vendors.
     Hematology, oncology, chemotherapy and dialysis patients must also use the main entrance on Coxwell Avenue. 
  • The Emergency Department entrance remains open for those seeking urgent care.

Screening

  • All individuals coming to MGH must complete self-screening when they enter the hospital. Screening questions can be found in the Coxwell Lobby.
  • Any patients or visitors who fail self-screening cannot enter the hospital and should call their healthcare provider or Telehealth Ontario.

proof of vaccination

All visitors at MGH are required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination (defined as having a full series of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine plus a minimum of 14 days passed) OR an approved and documental medical exemption for COVID-19 vaccination, along with a government-issued photo I.D., in order to enter the hospital. 

 Visitors who are not fully vaccinated, who do not have a medical exemption and who do not meet exception criteria will not be able to enter the building. 

Please review our Proof of Vaccination Policy for Visitors page for more information about this policy and exceptions. 

Rapid Antigen Testing

As of January 5, 2022, all visitors coming to see a patient at MGH will be required to take a rapid antigen test upon arrival at the hospital.

Visitors with a negative test result will be able to proceed for their visit. Visitors who test positive will not be able to complete their visit and will be asked to leave the hospital, self-isolate and call their healthcare provider for further direction. 

Exceptions may be made for visitors of a paediatric patient, Family Birthing Centre patient or patients at imminent end-of-life.

We encourage all visitors to arrive 15-20 minutes before their scheduled visit in order to allow time for the test. The test will be completed in a designated area. Individuals escorting patients for outpatient appointments will not have to do a rapid test at this time.

Wearing a mask

  • Everyone entering the hospital is required to wear a medical grade procedure/surgical mask for the duration of their visit.
  • Medical grade masks will be available to patients and visitors entering the Coxwell lobby.

FOOD AND BEVERAGE

  • If you have an appointment at the hospital or are visiting a loved one, you cannot eat or drink on-site to ensure that your mask is on at all times. If you purchase food or beverages from one of our vendors, please wait until you have left the hospital before eating or drinking.
    • Those who require a safe space to eat or drink during their visit due to dietary needs may use the G4 Cafeteria which is set up to accommodate physical distancing measures.  
  • Members of the public who do not have formal business at the hospital but who wish to use the hospital’s food and retail vendors cannot enter the building.
  • For information on bringing food and drink when visiting a patient, please see the Visitor section below. 

outpatient appointments

virtual appointments

Some departments are using virtual appointments to reduce the number of people in the hospital. During a virtual appointment you do not come to the hospital to meet in person. Instead, you speak with your care team using a regular telephone, smartphone or your computer. Click here for more information if you have been scheduled for a telephone or virtual appointment with your care team at MGH.

in-person Patient appointments 

Before visiting the hospital for an appointment, please contact the clinic ahead of time if you:

  • Are experiencing any new or worsening symptoms including:
    • Fever and/or chills
    • Sore throat
    • Cough
    • Runny/congested nose
    • Shortness of breath
    • Gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting/diarrhea or stomach pain)
    • Decrease or loss of taste or smell
    • Unexplained headache, muscle pains or fatigue
  • Have been advised by a doctor, healthcare provider, or public health unit to isolate (stay at home)
  • You have not been fully vaccinated and live with someone who has been told by a doctor, health provider, or public health unit that they should isolate.

OUTPATIENT APPOINTMENT ESCORTS

Patients attending an outpatient appointment at MGH may be permitted to bring one (1) escort if they:

  • Require mobility support that cannot be provided by the care team
  • Require communication and/or translation support beyond what can be provided by the care team
  • Have a cognitive impairment and require support beyond what be provided by the care team
  • Have a significant  developmental or intellectual disability
  • Are under the age of 19 (paediatric patient)

All escorts must be fully vaccinated. However, one (1) unvaccinated escort may be able to accompany the patient based on the criteria above ONLY if approved by the clinic. Please speak to the clinic prior to the appointment to discuss support person options. 

If you would like to explore an appeal to the mandatory vaccination policy, please contact Patient Relations at @email or 416-469-6096.

EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT

  • The Emergency Department (ED) remains open for those seeking urgent care.
  • Upon arrival, patients will self-screen for signs and/or symptoms of respiratory illness. Individuals experiencing signs/symptoms of respiratory illness will wait in a designated area of the ED.
  • Patients in the ED will be able to have one (1) designated visitor if they:
    • Are critically ill
    • Are under the age of 19 (paediatric patient)
    • Have a significant  developmental or intellectual disability
    • Have a cognitive impairment that cannot be supported by the care team
    • Require support with communication that cannot be managed by the care team
  • This designated visitor may enter the ED with the patient or arrive later and must successfully complete the self-screening process at the entrance. 
  • Designated visitors who arrive after a patient is already inside the ED are asked to call 416-469-6435 before entering to confirm if the patient is still in the ED or if they have been admitted to another unit. 
  • ED visitors must stay in the room with the patient and not use the common area except for the quiet room during resuscitation. 
  • If the patient has been admitted to another unit, designated visitors must contact that unit/care team to inquire if visitors are permitted and how a visit may be scheduled. Please note: All visitors will be required to follow the requirements stated in the “What to Expect” section above, including completing self-screening, rapid antigen testing and providing full of full vaccination against COVID-19.

Visiting a patient at MGH

Protecting the health and safety of our patients, staff and community is our top priority. We continue to update our visitor guidelines as the COVID-19 situation evolves in our community.

VIDEO Family visits

We understand that in-person visits may be difficult for some patients and their loved ones. Virtual visiting (arranged for patients using the Zoom platform on a hospital iPad) is available in all clinical areas. Click here to learn more about our Video Family Visit program.

PATIENTS UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS

No in-person visits are permitted for patients who are under investigation for respiratory infections, with the exception of patients at imminent end-of-life. Please contact the care team if you feel that your loved one meets this exception.

Eligibility for visits will be reviewed once a patient under investigation for respiratory infections is reassessed by the medical team. 

INPATIENT VISITS

Visiting a patient in labour and post-partum:

  • A patient in the Family Birthing Centre may have one designated visitor as needed for labour support and to assist with caring for the baby.
    • This visitor may be exempt from the proof of vaccination and negative rapid test result requirements detailed in the “What to Expect” section above.
    • Visitors who test positive but are permitted to see the patient must stay in the patient’s room at all times and may not go to other areas of the hospital.  

Paediatric patients (less than 19 years old):

  • Paediatric patients may have one designated visitor and one alternate. The designated visitor and alternate must remain constant for the duration of the patient’s admission.
    • These visitors may be exempt from the proof of vaccination and negative rapid test result requirements detailed in the “What to Expect” section above.
    • Visitors who test positive but are permitted to see the patient must stay in the patient’s room at all times and may not go to other areas of the hospital. 
  • Both the designated visitor and alternate can visit every day at different times.
    • The designated visitor will be able to switch with the alternate once within 24 hours.
  • Visitors who test positive on a rapid antigen test will not be permitted to visit the Special Care Nursery. Video visits are available to help support these families.

Patients at end-of-life:

A patient at end-of-life may continue to have designated visitors at the bedside. Please speak with the clinical area or palliative care team to determine a visiting plan.

Designated visitors for a patient at imminent end-of-life may be eligible for an exemption to the proof of vaccination and negative rapid antigen test result requirements detailed in the “What to Expect” section above.

Patients with a significant developmental or intellectual disability:

  • Patients with developmental or intellectual disabilities may have one designated visitor and one alternate. 
  • Both the designated visitor and alternate can visit every day and can be at the bedside at the same time. 
  • Both the designated visitor and alternate are exempt from the proof-of-vaccination policy.
  • Both the designated visitor and alternate will have to take a rapid antigen test upon arrival at MGH and produce a negative result. Those with a positive test result will not be able to visit the patient.

Patients who meet any of the criteria listed below may name one designated visitor and one alternate.

  • A patient undergoing major surgery 
  • A patient who is critically ill  
  • A patient who is having a mental health crisis 
  • A patient with a cognitive impairment who cannot be supported by their care team 
  • A patient who requires communication support which cannot be provided by their care team 
  • A patient who has been admitted to MGH for more than 7 days 

Please note:

  • The designated visitor and alternate must stay constant for the duration of the patient’s admission. 
  • The designated visitor OR alternate may visit the patient once per day between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.  
  • All visits must be booked through the Visitor Booking Office or clinical unit. 
  • In most areas, visits are one hour long
  • Both the designated visitor and alternate must provide proof-of-vaccination for COVID-19.  Designated visitors who are not fully vaccinated may appeal this policy through Patient Relations.
  • Both the designated visitor and alternate will have to have a negative rapid antigen test result upon arrival at MGH. Those with a positive test result will not be able to proceed to visit the patient.

Patients who have been admitted to MGH for less than 7 days and do not meet any of the criteria above cannot have in-person visitors. MGH’s Video Family Visit program is available to support these patients and their families.

BOOKING YOUR VISIT

In order to maintain safe physical distancing in the hospital, visitors must schedule visits in advance with the patient’s care team. 

If the patient you are visiting is admitted to a medical unit (A2, B2, A3, B3, F3, H7, CIU) or surgical unit (A5, B5), please contact the Visitor Booking Office by phone at 416-461-8272 ext. 2084, or email @email to book an appointment. The Visitor Booking Office is open 7 days a week.

If the patient is admitted to another unit at MGH, please call the switchboard at 416-461-8272 and ask to be transferred to that unit to request a visit.

APPEALS TO THE FAMILY PRESENCE DURING COVID-19 POLICY

If you would like to pursue an exception to the Family Presence (Essential Visitors) policy, please contact the Patient Relations office via email at @email or via phone at 416-469-6096. A Patient Experience Specialist will guide you through the appeals process.

VISITOR guidelines WHEN ON-SITE

In addition to passing screening and showing proof of COVID-19 vaccination, all visitors must abide by the following guidelines:

  • Hand Washing: All visitors must wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand rub when entering the hospital and before entering a patient care area and room.
  • MaskingAnyone entering the building is required to wear a medical grade procedure/surgical mask that must be worn at all times. Medical grade masks are available in Coxwell lobby for those who do not have one. 
  • Physical Distancing: Visitors are asked to maintain 6 ft. of distance between themselves and others at all times. Visitors are asked to go directly to the patient’s room or clinic area and not stop in other areas of the hospital.  

patient belongings 

While in hospital, patients may require essential personal items. Only items on the list below may be brought to the hospital. These items can be dropped off at the Information Desk in the Coxwell lobby, and will be brought up to the patient. 

Patients can have the following items while at MGH:

  • Personal items: Glasses, hearing aids, dentures
  • Electronics: Tablets, cell phones, chargers
  • Entertainment: Books, magazines, puzzles. Items must be brought to MGH in a wipe-able bag. 
  • Toiletries/grooming items: Please ask the care team first to see if the needed items can be provided by MGH.
  • Items needed by the team to safely provide care: including shoes, home medications. 
    • Please do not bring these items until they are requested. 
  • Clothing: At time of discharge only.
  • The following items cannot be brought to MGH at this time:
    • Flowers
    • Food items that do not meet the guidelines below

MGH does not take responsibility for any lost or misplaced patient belongings.

OUTSIDE FOOD

Food will be permitted if it is part of a patient’s care plan or if specific cultural practice requires outside food and drink. In these cases, food must be brought in sealable, wipeable containers. Use of hospital fridges and/or microwaves will not be permitted.

Visitors are asked to refrain from eating or drinking while at the hospital to ensure that masks are worn at all times.

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