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Blanche River Health Implements Care Partner/Visitation Restrictions at Both Hospital Sites Due to COVID-19 Outbreaks

April 8, 2022

COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared at both the Englehart and Kirkland Lake hospital sites effective April 7, 2022.  As a result, enhanced infection control measures are in place, and essential care partner/visitor restrictions are now in effect until further notice.

Inpatient visits by essential care partners are suspended until further notice with exceptions applicable to:

  • patients who are end-of-life;
  • patients who are critically-ill prior to transfer to another facility;
  • patients who are under the age of 18-years old (one parent/guardian is permitted at a time.)

Essential care partners who are approved to enter the hospital for purposes of inpatient visitation will continue to be actively screened for COVID-19. Full personal protective equipment must be worn including: mask, eye protection, gown and gloves during the entire visit. Rapid antigen testing is also required prior to visitation. Test kits are available at the screening agent desk at the hospital entrance. There will be no visitation permitted for inpatients who are a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case.

Outpatient and Emergency Department patients coming to the hospital will be allowed to have an escort/caregiver accompany them in the following situations:

  • patients who are critically-ill prior to transfer to another facility;
  • patients who are under the age of 18-years old (one parent/guardian is permitted at a time;)
  • patients with mobility and/or cognitive impairment who require care partner assistance during their visit;
  • obstetrical patients who are receiving an ultrasound.

 “Our hospitals have been swiftly and significantly impacted by a surge in COVID-19 activity in the past couple of weeks as we currently have 19 COVID-19-positive inpatients across both sites, the highest number of active cases since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Blanche River Health President and Chief Executive Officer Sean Conroy.

He continued, “Additionally, we also continue to face significant challenges associated with staff absences due to the ongoing rise in COVID-19 activity and transmission within our communities. While many public health measures have been lifted in the province, we want to remind everyone the situation we are seeing in many hospitals, including Blanche River Health, certainly indicates the pandemic is far from over.”

 If you are an escort, caregiver or essential care partner who is not feeling well, have tested positive within the last ten days or have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, please do not come to the hospital unless it is for urgent/emergency purposes. Our emergency departments continue to operate normally 24/7 providing urgent and emergency care.

 Patients impacted by any changes to outpatient, surgical or specialist appointments as a result of the outbreak situation will be contacted.

Blanche River Health continues to work closely with the Timiskaming Health Unit in the management of these outbreaks at both hospitals. We appreciate the community’s patience and understanding with the implementation of these measures as we focus on mitigating the risks and impact on staff and patients.

For more information about Blanche River Health, and for the latest COVID-19 updates, please visit www.blancheriverhealth.ca.

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