Place strategy

The mask mandate will remain in place at the OSMH beyond June 11

Photo courtesy of Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital

As masking requirements in other high-risk areas like public transit expire tomorrow, hospitals in Ontario Health’s Central Region, which includes the OSMH, confirmed their commitment to keeping patients safe, staff, visitors, volunteers and vendors through maintaining the masking requirement within these facilities.

Health experts agreed that the continued use of masking in hospital settings remains a simple and necessary safeguard. Masking helps prevent the most vulnerable patients from contracting COVID-19. It can also prevent the transmission of COVID-19 to healthcare providers, keeping people healthy and working. Hospitals across the province are facing health human resource challenges and every effort must be made to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in hospitals.

While each hospital is responsible for its own entry and reception procedures, upon arrival at Central Region hospitals, patients and families will continue to be required to wear a mask. Masks will be provided for those who arrive without a mask.

This guidance is consistent with a statement provided on June 8, 2022 by the Ontario Hospital Association which recommended that the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s (CMOH) order regarding mandatory mask-wearing for patients, caregivers, visitors and other members of the public in hospitals, issued under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, be maintained.

Central Region hospitals thank the public for their continued support of our frontline healthcare workers and volunteers as our system continues to recover from the pandemic. Together, we can continue to keep our hospitals safe, so they can be there for those who need them.

“Why continue with masks in hospitals? Although reduced, transmission of COVID-19 is still occurring and masks are a simple strategy that keeps people safe. Additionally, masking will allow us to safely open to more visitors. Plans are underway to increase the number of visitors throughout the hospital without the need to register in advance. We appreciate the presence of carers within the hospital and hope to see more family support at our facility. More information will be available next week.

Lifting precautions are only part of COVID recovery. We continue to work through the huge backlog of surgeries and other procedures of over 1,000 cases. It takes longer than anyone would like.

Pandemic-related labor shortages are a reality in many sectors and healthcare is no exception. The OSMH continues to recruit people to join our great team, but it takes time to train new employees, especially in specialized areas like the emergency room or the operating room. Our employees remain our top priority so that we can better serve our community.

For patients patiently waiting at home for their surgery or in our emergency department for their care, our teams do their best to provide excellent and compassionate care. Your patience is appreciated.

This last part of the COVID recovery is planned in advance. While there are reasons to be optimistic as summer approaches, we also know that fall will bring a new season of respiratory disease, including the possibility of more COVID-19.

Enough said about that. It’s summer, isn’t it? Let’s all focus on reopening sensibly as we continue to work through our current challenges, knowing that we plan for the future as one community. – Carmine Stumpo, President and CEO, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital