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Province introduces new travel restrictions for health care employees

Kingston General Hospital (KGH), a hospital of Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC). Photo by Lucas Mulder.

Health care workers at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) are now subject to out-of-province health care restrictions, the Kingstonist has learned. 

The restrictions apply to all staff, physicians, residents, learners and volunteers, along with vendors and contractors.

Christine Maloney, communications officer for KHSC, said this is in compliance with updated instructions from the Ministry of Health, released Tuesday, May 26, 2020.  KHSC staff received an update about this policy on June 3, 2020.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Health’s requirements: “Health Care Providers who have returned from travel outside of Ontario in the last 14 days and/or have had a confirmed, unprotected exposure to a person with COVID-19 may continue to work with specific precautions if they are critical to operations.” Those who work in KHSC sites will be asked to quarantine for two weeks otherwise.

KHSC said they will not compensate employees for travel-related quarantine if they self-isolate at home, but that employees can apply any banked lieu or sick time instead.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Health, self-isolation at work for health care providers involves twice-daily temperature checks, traveling to and from work in a private vehicle or wearing a surgical or procedural mask on public transit, washing hands before and after using transit, wearing additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at work, avoiding eating in shared meal spaces with other health care workers, and working only in one facility if possible.

Ontario extended its State of Emergency to Tuesday, June 30, 2020, this week, and continues to advise against all non-essential travel.

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Samantha Butler-Hassan

Samantha Butler-Hassan is a staff writer and life-long Kingston resident. She is a news junkie and mom who loves reading and exploring the community. This article has been made possible with the support of the Local Journalism Initiative.

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