Masks Are Required At All Waterloo Region Hospitals
Region of Waterloo – Waterloo Region’s Hospitals applaud a decision by Waterloo Regional Council to require the wearing of face coverings when on public transit and in enclosed spaces, and are reminding patients, visitors and designated care partners that masks are required in all Hospital buildings in the Region.
“Our Hospitals welcome this move by council to help strengthen efforts to limit transmission of COVID-19 and help keep our community safe,” said Barry Vermeersch, Director of Laboratory, Cardiac Diagnostics and Infection Prevention & Control.
The region’s bylaws do not apply to Hospitals, independent medical facilities and other areas because those organizations are under other jurisdictions. Hospitals, for instance, are following a Ministry of Health directive for universal masking inside their institutions, which was introduced when the pandemic was declared. The directive also applies to all staff, physicians and volunteers.
Cambridge Memorial Hospital, Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s General Hospital are providing masks to patients, designated care partners and visitors after being screened. Masks must be worn at all times.
“Patients needing hospital care are vulnerable to infection and we know that COVID-19 spreads very easily,” said Stephanie Pearsall, Director of Surgical Services and Emergency at St. Mary’s General Hospital. “We want to do everything we can to minimize the risk of transmission and having everyone entering the hospital wear a mask is a key part of that effort.”
According to the Centres for Disease Control, wearing a mask creates a barrier that reduces the risk of transmitting COVID, or other illnesses, especially when physical distancing is difficult to maintain. It blocks most of the droplets propelled from the mouth when speaking and breathing, and can offer some protection from droplets reaching your mouth or nose when in public. In combination with physical distancing and frequent hand-washing, areas that have implemented universal masking have successfully slowed the spread of the virus.
“Universal masking has helped our hospitals to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 which is especially important as we work to gradually resume services and visiting,” said Bonnie Camm, Vice President, Clinical Services at Grand River Hospital. “Personal protective equipment, including masks help us to protect those around us and ensure the health and wellness of all.”