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Changes to visitor and Essential Care Partner guidelines as of Tuesday, Dec. 21

Posted Dec 17th, 2021

Beginning Tuesday, Dec. 21, visitors and Essential Care Partners must show proof of vaccination (i.e. 14-days since second dose) before entering the hospital and only one person can be at a patient’s bedside at a time. These changes are a result of the evolving situation with the Omicron variant and will help us maintain the safest environment possible in the hospital.

There is no change to visiting hours and to how many people a patient can visit within a day. The change to only one visitor at the bedside at a time is to ensure appropriate physical distancing inside all patient rooms. All other infection prevention and control guidelines remain in place, including masking, handwashing and screening.

“We know how important visitors are in supporting our patients, and we regret having to take these actions, especially over the holidays,” says Linda Boich, Executive Vice President for Quality and Mental Health and Addictions, and Executive Lead for Integrated Care. “We strongly believe these are necessary measures to protect our patients, visitors, staff and physicians.”

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination (i.e. 14 days since second dose) required for visitors, Essential Care Partners and Support Persons:

  • Must show proof of vaccination before entering the hospital: your vaccination receipt or QR code with government-issued photo ID.
  • Documents must show that it has been at least 14 days since your second dose.
  • Visitors, Support Persons and Essential Care Partners will not be permitted entry to the hospital if they are unable to show proof of vaccination. There will be limited exemptions:
  • One Support Person for patients in the Emergency Department.
  • One Support Person for patients in Labour and Delivery.
  • One parent or caregiver of patients under the age of 18 years old.
  • End of Life patients.
  • As requested by the clinical team for other exceptional circumstances.
Patients who are coming to the hospital for an outpatient procedure can continue to bring a Support Person with them. This person must also be fully vaccinated.

Please plan ahead, arrive early and be prepared to wait as everyone entering the hospital will be screened. All patients will receive care regardless of vaccination status.

Visiting guidelines at Niagara Health:
  • Visiting hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Only one person allowed at a patient’s bedside at a time.
  • Visitors must be 16 years of age and older (anyone younger must be accompanied by an adult and would require advance permission by the clinical care team).
  • No eating or drinking. This will ensure you wear your mask at all times.
  • Please stay in the patient room with your loved one for the duration of the visit.
  • If you are switching with another visitor, we ask that you go outside to avoid confusion on the inpatient unit floor.
Thank you to the Niagara community for your support and continued vigilance against the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19, including your third dose, is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Niagara Health System