Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) and Providence Care say they’re moving to the next step of their step-down approach to COVID-19.
Kingston hospitals have maintained masking within all patient care areas, but during the first phase of the step-down plan staff were allowed to remove masks where they could maintain a metre of distance in areas where there were no patients, clients, or visitors.
Now, KHSC and Providence Care are considering two main changes in on-site COVID-19 related restrictions.
KHSC is proposing removing mandatory physical distancing and mandatory masking for staff and others in the hospital, however patients can still request their healthcare provider wear a mask and staff and visitors will continue to be asked to mask up in more vulnerable areas including the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Dialysis Clinics, Oncology, Emergency Department, Urgent Care Centre, and the Children’s Outpatient Clinic.
Masks will continue to be made available at the entrance of buildings and PPE will be available for staff who want it, those with respiratory symptoms will still have to wear a mask in hospitals and caregivers or visitors with infectious symptoms must postpone their visit until their symptoms have improved.
Providence Manor is excluded from any of the changes being made with provincial directives remaining in place for long-term care homes.
In a release from KHSC, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control at KHSC and Providence Care Dr. Gerald Evans, says the changes are being made based on a variety of data available.
“Our plan has been guided by multiple sources, including our own analysis of national, provincial, and regional COVID-19 data, in addition to input from Public Health Ontario and other informed sources examining this same issue,” Dr. Evans said.
“As community prevalence, outbreaks in health-care facilities and hospitalizations continue to decline and/or remain stable, and considering the high-vaccination rates in our region, there is now a substantially lower probability of transmission in health-care settings.”
In Kingston and the surrounding area, COVID-19 case tracking shows 61 active high risk cases and 4 hospitalized in the community.
To date 118 people have died from the illness in the KFL&A region.
Before the changes are officially implemented, KHSC and Providence Care are accepting feedback on proposed changes on their websites.