Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) released a statement today, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, noting that it is “cautiously” easing pandemic control measures as “key public health and health system indicators continue to remain stable in our community and across the region.”
“Effective Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, KHSC will no longer be asking visitors for proof of COVID-19 vaccination or require them to perform a rapid antigen test if they are unvaccinated,” the hospital organization said. “Special high-risk areas of the hospital may continue to support access to rapid antigen tests to protect vulnerable patient populations; this information will be communicated to affected visitors.”
According to the statement, the decision to remove the vaccination requirement and/or rapid antigen test for visitors is backed by science and was made in consultation with KHSC infection prevention and control experts, physicians, staff and the hospital’s Patient and Family Advisory Council. Our region currently has a COVID-19 vaccination rate of more than 90 per cent for age groups over 12 years old, and many others have been infected with COVID-19, which also confers immunity, KHSC explained, noting that they will retain screening at the door for anyone with symptoms of infectious illness.
KHSC said that the following safety precautions will also remain firmly in place:
- All visitors must wear a hospital-issued mask, practice hand hygiene and, whenever possible, physical distancing.
- Admitted patients must continue to register their visitors: three in total, with two at the bedside at any one time.
- Hospital policy still requires staff, physicians and contractors/vendors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The hospital organization continues to encourage all individuals to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and influenza, and also remain at home when they are sick or symptomatic with COVID-19 or other viruses that circulate during the respiratory illness season.
“Throughout this pandemic, we have carefully considered what and when changes to our COVID-19 policies can safely occur,” said Dr. David Pichora, KHSC President & CEO. “That effort will not slacken as we open up a bit more to ease access for patients and families; however, we are ready to reinstate control measures if and when needed.”