St. Mary’s has strong infection prevention and control protocols at all times. Currently we are closely monitoring COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) and are prepared to respond.
Staff at the hospital are currently screening patients for COVID-19, and based on their symptoms and travel history, will arrange for testing. While the risk to Ontarians is low, we are taking these precautions and working with our partners like Waterloo Region Public Health to ensure a safe environment for all.
If you are experiencing any symptoms listed below, and have travelled outside of Canada, please notify Waterloo Region Public Health for instructions before coming to the hospital. That number is 519-575-4400.
What is COVID-19 (coronavirus)?
This is a flu-like illness. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
Here is a visual infographic illustrating the different signs and symptoms for COVID-19, cold and flu:
How is St. Mary’s staff screening potential cases?
- Difficulty breathing*
- New or worsening cough/sore throat/runny nose*
- Travel to or close contact with someone who has travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms
- Close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19
*Symptoms will be screened regardless of travel.
COVID-19 testing will continue to run by appointment only as directed by Public Health.
What can I expect when I arrive at the hospital?
Effective immediately, everyone who enters St. Mary’s will be screened. This includes patients, visitors, staff and physicians. This simply means we will be asking you some questions about your health prior to entering the building. In order to do this, screening points are set up at both the Main Lobby and Emergency Department entrances.
What this means for patients:
- If you have an appointment, please plan to arrive earlier than usual.
- If you do not have an appointment and are not visiting a patient, you will not be permitted to enter the building.
- As always, if you are in need of urgent or emergency care and are arriving at the entrance, not by ambulance, please proceed directly to the Emergency Department and notify staff immediately.
What this means for visitors:
- Until further notice, St. Mary’s will no longer allow visitors into the hospital. There will be limited exceptions to this restriction.
Alternate ways to stay connected to your loved ones:
- We understand the importance of staying connected to your loved ones. Our staff will do what they can to help patients and families connect virtually and by telephone.
- In an effort to help patients and families connect virtually, St. Mary’s continues to offer free WiFi to our patients and caregivers. This network “Guest” can be found through your wireless settings for mobile devices and tablets.
Is there any impact on services at St. Mary’s General Hospital?
At this time, St. Mary’s will only proceed with urgent and emergent cases as directed by the healthcare provider working in partnership with the hospital. All elective procedures have been cancelled. These measures are in place to protect our patients and staff, and will continue for as long as necessary.
Due to the vulnerable patient population they serve, the following programs have been closed: Cardiac Rehab, Geriatric Medically Complex Clinic, Wellness Centre & DriveABLE. All other outpatient clinics will operate under the same guidelines of only proceeding with urgent/emergent cases and appointments as directed by the healthcare provider.
What if I have an upcoming surgery?
St. Mary’s has reduced all surgical services except for urgent and emergent cases. We will continue to provide emergency surgery and surgery for urgent cases. If your appointment is cancelled, you will be contacted. If you haven’t received a phone call and would like to inquire, please call switchboard at 519-744-3311.
What if I have a symptom when I come to the hospital?
Patients who have symptoms will be asked to wear a mask and perform hand hygiene. You will be escorted to the necessary area where you will discuss options for care.
What you should do to avoid the spread of illness
Practicing typical hygiene can help:
- Wash your hands often
- When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with your arm to reduce the spread of germs. If you use a tissue, throw it away as soon as possible and wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes nose and mouth.
- We want everyone to stay safe. Whether you are in the hospital, at home or out in the community, please keep a distance of two metres between yourself and others.
What should you do if you think you have the novel COVID-19 (coronavirus)?
- are exhibiting symptoms identified above, regardless of travel history OR
- have travelled outside of Canada within 14 days and develop symptoms, OR
- have been in contact with someone who is sick within 14 days after travelling outside of Canada, OR
- are a contact of someone with confirmed COVID-19
A SELF-ASSESSMENT TOOL IS NOW AVAILABLE:
- If you think you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this self-assessment to help determine how to seek further care.
- To access the self assessment tool, click here.
- For more information, call Waterloo Region Public Health for instructions before coming to hospital. That number is 519-575-4400.