Mandatory masking returns to all areas of KHSC hospital sites

Photo by Mika Baumeister.

After stepping up masking requirements a week ago, Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) has now re-introduced mandatory masking for patients, staff, and visitors across all public-facing areas of the Kingston General Hospital (KGH) site and Hotel Dieu Hospital site, effective immediately.

According to a release from KHSC, this change is in response to rising COVID-19 prevalence in southeastern Ontario.

KHSC said that, throughout the pandemic, its Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) team has monitored local COVID-19 community prevalence markers, including COVID-19 test positivity, outbreaks in congregate living settings, and wastewater detection. According to the release, current regional data indicates that test positivity has risen from 10.1 per cent to 21.5 per cent in the past 10 days. However, wastewater evidence suggests that this could be a short-lived rise in COVID-19 cases, KHSC relayed.

The health care agency noted that, at this time, there is no change to the family and visitor presence policy, which currently allows for two visitors to a patient’s bedside at any time. Further control measures will be re-introduced should local COVID-19 markers continue to rise in Kingston, KHSC said, noting that monitoring and escalating control measures continues to be part of its respiratory response plan.

“We understand that these can be challenging decisions, however, we must ensure a safe environment for every person who comes here to receive care, work, volunteer, or learn,” said Dr. Gerald Evans, Medical Director of Infection Prevention & Control at KHSC.

To help reduce the risk of acquiring or transmitting COVID-19, KHSC encourages everyone who is eligible to get a shot of the updated COVID-19 vaccine, get an annual flu shot, practice regular handwashing, wear a mask when appropriate and stay home when sick.

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