SMGH is hiring nurses and other health care workers! We will only accept online applications through our careers page. Click here to apply.
Our Emergency Department is now offering same day virtual appointments with an ED physician. Click here to learn how to book an appointment.
For information about COVID-19 testing for anyone with symptoms click here.
St. Mary’s has strong infection prevention and control protocols at all times. We continue to take all necessary steps to respond to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic.
We also continue to work with our partners like Waterloo Region Public Health to take all necessary precautions to ensure a safe environment for all. All patients and designated visitors and caregivers are now being asked to wear masks when entering the hospital. Wearing a mask will help to reduce the risk of transmission for everyone in the hospital. Thank you for your understanding.
If you are experiencing any symptoms listed below, 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 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, 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:
It is crucial that we keep our patients, staff and hospital environment safe. We are restricting all visitors – including family members of patients – to our hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic until further notice. This includes people accompanying patients to appointments. We understand this is difficult, but it is essential for the safety of everyone within our hospital sites, including our vulnerable patients and essential frontline staff.
Exceptions may be made to this rule for only essential family presence. This includes:
- Immediate family of a terminally ill patient who is near end of life
- Parent of a child under the age of 18
- Visitor is requested to attend hospital to be present to support patients whose needs may be best met by having a family member (e.g. patients with dementia with increased agitation, caregiver accompanying patient who requires special assistance)
These family members must pass the screening protocols at the main entrance in order to enter the hospital.
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.
I heard that Ontario is reopening elective surgeries. When will my surgery be rescheduled?
On May 14, the Ontario government announced the beginning of Phase 1 in its plan to re-open the province. Phase 1 includes the careful resumption of scheduled surgeries and procedures that had been significantly reduced in accordance with the Medical Officer of Health’s March 15 directive.
The government has also released specific instructions for hospitals about resuming surgeries and procedures. We are working with other hospitals in Waterloo-Wellington to follow those instructions, which include criteria that we have to meet. For example, as a region, we need to ensure we have enough space available for care (ie. patient beds available in all hospitals), and enough of the supplies and medications needed to perform these surgeries.
Because there are many variables involved, we don’t yet know the specific date elective surgeries will resume.
We know that many patients are anxiously waiting to hear about their surgery. We will share information with you as the plan is developed, and when your surgery is re-booked, we will call you to let you know. Most importantly, we want to ensure your safety when you do come for the procedure and services.
What if I have a symptom when I come to the hospital?
Everyone who enters the hospital will be screened. Patients who have symptoms and have an appointment or are in need of urgent/emergent care 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.
If I’m admitted to the hospital during this time, what do I need to know?
The safety of our patients and staff is always our number one priority. If you have plans to be in hospital, or are admitted to hospital, during this time, there are a few things you can do to help keep yourself and staff safe from exposure to COVID-19.
Here are some tips:
- Please bring an up to date list of your medications, your pharmacy contact information and allergies to the hospital
- Share your medication list with a trusted emergency contact in case you are unable to provide a list during admission
- Please bring your phone and charger as hospital staff may want to communicate with you via phone whenever possible to collect/share medical information such as collecting medication lists and providing discharge counselling. This is to help minimize the amount of time staff are going in and out of your room to preserve our supply of personal protective equipment like masks, gloves, and gowns.
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.