This pandemic is the most significant healthcare crisis of our time. As a hospital, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect our teams and those in our care.
We continue to learn more about the Delta variant. Based on modelling from the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, we expect to see another surge in cases in hospitals in our province over the next several months, impacting all age groups and all hospital services.
Full vaccination of our teams is critical to maintain a safe environment for everyone in the hospital – it will reduce the spread of the virus, decrease the risk of outbreaks and ensure healthcare services are delivered as safely as possible.
“Vaccination rates are high in our hospital. At this time, 87% of our staff and physicians are fully vaccinated,” says Lynn Guerriero, President and CEO at Niagara Health. “We are working towards our goal of having 100% of our staff, physicians, learners and volunteers fully vaccinated in November.”
Community vaccination is our best defence against this highly contagious virus and will lessen the impact of the fourth wave. All vaccines approved by Health Canada are safe and effective in protecting against COVID-19 and its variants.
At Niagara Health, the majority of our patients receiving care for COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Since Aug. 7, we have cared for 32 patients with COVID-19 of which 26, or 81%, have been unvaccinated.
“We are dealing with a virus that is well-managed with a vaccine. I strongly urge those who are unvaccinated to do so as soon as possible,” says Dr. Johan Viljoen, Chief of Staff, Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs. “Vaccination is the key to getting out of this pandemic, and there are many options available throughout the Niagara community.”
All hospitals, including Niagara Health, implemented a mandatory vaccination program as of Sept. 7, 2021 following a directive from the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health. This program requires all employees, physicians, contractors, on-site businesses, volunteers and students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or complete education and provide a negative rapid at home test within 48 hours of entering any Niagara Health site. Niagara Health, along with other hospitals in our region, went beyond this directive to require proof of vaccination for all new hires and all volunteers, effective Sept. 7. Niagara Health is monitoring this program and will provide updates.
For more information on getting vaccinated against COVID-19, please visit Niagara Health’s website at: https://www.niagarahealth.on.ca/site/vaccination-clinic or Niagara Region Public Health’s website at https://niagararegion.ca/health/covid-19/vaccination.