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COVID-19 Information

The COVID, Cold and Flu Care Clinic for Waterloo Region, operated by Grand River Hospital at 50 Sportsworld Drive, Kitchener closed on March 24, 2023. Care for community members with COVID-19, cold and influenza-like symptoms has transitioned to family physicians, urgent care clinics, and community pharmacies.

With the Clinic closure, patients needing COVID care for severe symptoms should continue to seek care at the nearest Emergency Department.

Our Environmental Services (EVS) department has implemented additional cleaning and disinfection procedures to ensure a clean and safe environment for our patients, staff and physicians. We have increased staffing as well so that enhanced cleaning could occur multiple times a day for all common areas and high-volume units.

Around the hospital we have taken many steps to encourage physical distancing of at least two metres/six feet between people. Seating in public areas is limited. You will see signage, fewer chairs and some chairs blocked with tape in waiting rooms. There are markers on the floor to encourage distancing in line-ups.

Staff and physicians are replacing in-person group meetings with virtual meetings using teleconferences and video conferencing when possible.

Elevator Safety

As we welcome care partners into the building, demand for elevators will rise. For safe use, the following guidelines are in place when using elevators:

  • Masks must be worn at all times
  • Maximum of six people in the elevator at a time
  • Maximum of two people with a stretcher patient
  • Spread out as much as possible
  • If elevator is full, please wait for the next one or take the stairs

St. Mary’s is providing hospital-issued masks to all who enter the hospital. Masks from home will not be permitted. As always, we are following guidance and direction from the Ministry of Health to ensure all are protected.

Why are patients and care partners being asked to wear masks at St. Mary’s General Hospital?

Physical distancing, or staying more than two metres (six feet) apart from others is the most important strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from person to person. Some people who have COVID-19 may not have symptoms but can still spread the virus without knowing. Because we cannot guarantee physical distancing at all times, we require all patients and care partners wear a mask upon entry so we can keep everyone safe.

How does wearing a mask help?

Masks can decrease the spread of COVID-19 in two ways. First, people wearing masks help protect others around them by limiting the spread of their own droplets when coughing, sneezing and speaking. Second, those wearing masks protect themselves by reducing the chance of inhaling contaminated droplets from others who are within two metres.

How can I be sure a mask fits properly?

It is important to put on, take off, and wear a mask properly to stay safe.

  • Click here for easy instructions on how to put on a mask.
  • Click here for a video on how to safely wear and remove your mask.

Follow this checklist to ensure a mask fits properly:

  • Covers the mouth and nose once the elastics are secure around ears
  • Has minimal gaps between the face and the mask while it is being worn – the mask should fit tightly but not feel uncomfortable
  • Does not need to be repositioned or adjusted while being worn
  • Is easy to remove safely

Note that a mask without a proper fit can compromise the safety of the person wearing the mask and those around them.

Are additional masks available if needed?

Masks will be handed out at screening stations upon entry to St. Mary’s. We will also provide patients and care partners with a new mask if it becomes very wet, soiled, damaged or dropped on the floor. Just ask your nurse if you need a new mask.

What should be done with the mask when taken off?

If you will need to put the mask on again, you may remove it safely and place it on a clean piece of paper towel. However, if the mask will no longer be needed, please dispose it in a waste container.

Use hand sanitizer frequently while at the hospital. And, always remember to clean your hands before putting on a mask and after taking it off.

Our staff and physicians follow meticulous hand hygiene practices. As you have heard from Public Health officials, frequent and careful hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Click here for a video on how to wash your hands. Click here for a video on how to clean your hands with hand sanitizer.

  • Please do not call the clinic or your physician about your appointment. If there is a change to your appointment, you will be notified.
  • If you are concerned, please call your family physician.
  • If there is an emergency, please call 911 and go the hospital immediately.
  • If you have an urgent issue, please go to an Urgent Care Centre.

Virtual care appointments continue to be an important way to connect patients with their care teams. Learn more about Digital Health at St. Mary's.

  • We will do everything possible to keep your appointment once it is scheduled.
  • It’s possible that appointments could change – the hospital needs to take care of emergency and urgent cases.
  • COVID-19 is not over, and we will need to alter services if there is an increase in COVID-19 patients in our hospital.
  • Arrive on time to your appointment, please do not come too early in order to avoid too many people in the same vicinity.
  • You will be provided a mask to wear. If you wish to keep on the mask that you arrive in, you can do so, but must wear the mask given to you on top of you your own mask.
  • Please remember to wear your mask throughout the hospital, sanitize your hands when you enter and leave the clinic and if you move about through the hospital. It is important to put on, take off, and wear a mask properly to stay safe. Click here for and instruction sheet.
  • Good hand hygiene is critical and please take advantage of hand sanitizer stations as you move through the hospital. Click here for a video on how to wash your hands. Click here for a video on how to sanitize with hand rub.
  • For your safety, please be sure to practice physical distancing of 2 metres/6 feet and pay attention to all markers, barriers and signage.

We understand the important role family and loved ones have in supporting our patients. In these times, it is necessary to protect the well-being of all patients by limiting traffic in and out of the hospital and practicing physical distancing.

Patients may want to receive personal items such as clothing, toiletries or other essential items for their care. We ONLY accept the following personal items due to infection control reasons for our patients and staff:

  • Clean glasses, hearing aids, dentures and medical devices.
    NEW Toiletries only.
  • NEW Grooming items only – toothbrushes, combs, hair brushes, razors.
  • Personal items – books, magazines, puzzle books, family photos, etc.
  • Electronics such as tablets and cell phones.
  • Clean clothes for patient’s imminent discharge.
  • *Medications if requested by the healthcare team.
  • *Please speak with the healthcare team if there are any dietary concerns. Food/drink or medications drop-off must be coordinated in advance with the healthcare team otherwise these items will not be accepted.

Please visit our Planning Your Stay page for full details on what to expect when being admitted to hospital or coming to the Emergency Department.

You or your family member has been hospitalized with COVID-19. We know that this can be a concerning diagnosis and can sometimes result in a serious illness requiring intensive care.  When a loved one is sick, it can be a very stressful time for everyone. Our staff are doing everything that we can to provide high-quality, compassionate, dignified, and respectful care.

As a hospital, we rely on the best and most current evidence available to address COVID-19 and its many health impacts. Our medical professionals have years of educational and professional expertise and training and look to research and studies that are trusted, approved and uphold our strict standards of care.

We understand that there are many different opinions that although can appear credible, may not be scientifically proven. Please note that, as regulated health care workers that are licensed to practice by an external college, we cannot prescribe or administer “investigational” or otherwise unproven medications, such as ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine.

We are, as always, guided by the best and most recent peer reviewed evidence. The Ontario Science table has provided substantial guidance for health care workers and the public in this regard. 

We also want to take the opportunity to share the benefits of vaccination against COVID-19. Throughout the past two years, we have witnessed the fact that those with vaccinations have far fewer serious complications than those who choose not to be vaccinated. 

For the most part, COVID is a disease that people make a good recovery from, although the recovery can be slow. What is just as important as the medications is having a support team focused on recovery rather than taking valuable time to argue and debate. For this reason, we hope you respect our expertise and time and allow us to continue to focus on providing the best care we can.