Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) says that, with increasing numbers of positive COVID-19 cases in the community and extremely high patient volumes, it is reducing the number of registered visitors for inpatients from three to one.
While this change will go into effect on Monday, Nov. 15, KHSC says it will be asking families to reduce the number of visitors for the remainder of the weekend where possible.
“In order to protect our patients, as well as our ability to care for the sickest individuals across the region, we must reduce the number of people who are accessing our hospital sites,” says acting COVID-19 Incident Commander Theresa MacBeth. “Not only is there an increased risk due to growing COVID cases in our community, but we have also seen an increase in the number of patients being admitted to hospital as a result of COVID-19.”
In the meantime, says KHSC, additional friends and family members outside of the one registered visitor, are encouraged to keep in touch with their loved ones by phone or through other technologies such email or Zoom. “As a reminder all registered visitors for inpatients must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” says KHSC.
“We understand that any reduction in the number of visitors is distressing for our patients and that visitors play a vital role in providing comfort and support to their loved ones,” says MacBeth. “But, we must also ensure we are protecting our ability to provide highly specialized acute care to the more than 500,000 people in our region that rely on our services. This change is needed to protect our staff and patients as the current situation rapidly evolves in our community.”
Over the last few weeks, KHSC says it was already seeing unprecedented non-COVID patient volumes in both the Emergency Department at Kingston General Hospital (KGH) and Urgent Care Centre at Hotel Dieu Hospital (HDH). Inpatient units are also now nearing capacity and KHSC says it is working with partners across the region to transfer patients who no longer need the highly specialized care provided at the KGH site.
KHSC says it will continue to monitor the situation closely, and will provide further updates when available. For more information on KHSC’s visitor and family presence restrictions, visit the KHSC website.