Read new visiting guidelines and other COVID-19 updates here.

COVID-19 Updates

This page is updated regularly. Please check back for updates.

Number of patients with COVID-19 we
are currently caring for in our hospital: 4

We are taking precautions at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) to ensure the safety of our staff, patients, and community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Updates will be shared frequently to ensure everyone has the information required to remain safe.

Please select a topic below to learn more.

Feeling Unwell?

The Ontario Ministry of Health has created a new tool to help people self-assess for COVID-19. Unless you are experiencing an emergency, please use this self-assessment tool before seeking medical help for possible COVID-19.

If you are having difficulty breathing or experiencing other severe symptoms, call 911 immediately. Advise them of your symptoms.

Connections between patients & families (free WiFi, letters)

During times like these, we know the importance of sending wishes to patients.  Volunteer Association staff will now deliver envelopes containing e-mail messages received from patients’ family members to team/nursing stations. Patients’ families can email messages to [email coming soon].

Free public WiFi access is now available by accessing “HHS Free Wifi.” This network is an attempt to help keep patients connected to loved ones during our no visitor phase. However, bandwidth on the network is limited, so things like streaming may not work smoothly. We encourage patients and families to connect with their loved ones by telephone or by video conferencing, such as FaceTime.

Donations (including PPE) & Sales

We are grateful to the many generous members of our community who have stepped forward with offers for our staff and physicians. We kindly request that anyone who would like to make a donation, please contact us first.

We are working swiftly to ensure donations that we require and can accept, meet national standards for PPE use in a health care setting, and align this equipment to our current products.

Anyone looking to donate or supply products (PPE and otherwise, including baby monitors and food/drink), please email PPEdonations@hhsc.ca and provide:

1. Product description
2. Product code (if applicable)
3. Identify if the boxes are opened or sealed (if applicable)
4. Contact name, email and phone number

Selling supplies

We appreciate offers from members of our community and local businesses who would like to sell equipment and supplies to Hamilton Health Sciences. To help us ensure timely response to your inquiry, please email purchasePPE@hhsc.ca. Someone will get back to you shortly.

Cash Donations

We are truly grateful for all offers of support at this time. Should you wish to make a cash donation to support Hamilton Health Sciences highest priority needs, please visit Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation’s Covid-19 Response Page. If you would like to speak to someone about a cash donation, please leave a message at 905-522-3863 and a staff member will contact you.

Screening At All Entrances

HHS is limiting entrances at our sites and conducting COVID-19 screening of all patients and visitors before they enter our hospitals.

What does that mean for you? Staff will ask patients and visitors about symptoms, particularly respiratory symptoms, and contact with others. If you meet the current case-definition (a combination of symptoms and contact) for COVID-19 staff will begin a special infection-control protocol.

Review new site maps to navigate changes to clinic locations resulting from COVID-19.

These added measures, while important, may increase delays in our already busy hospitals. We appreciate your patience and encourage you to visit needadoc.ca to determine the most appropriate place to seek care for your medical needs.

No-Visitor Policy

HHS is taking special precautions to keep our patients, caregivers and staff safe. Visitor guidelines have changed and we have moved to a no-visitor policy with few exceptions.

Only the approved items listed below may be dropped off at the Visitor Screening Centres at each of the sites during its hours of operation (8am-8pm Monday-Friday / 10am-8pm Saturday and Sunday).

Screeners will provide the family member one clear plastic bag to place the personal items in We do not store any items, as they will go to the unit immediately.

Approved items:

• Clean clothes only – will be bagged and picked up by the inpatient units
• NEW Toiletries only
• NEW Grooming items only – toothbrushes, combs, hair brushes, razors
• Personal items such as books, magazines, puzzle books, family photos etc.
• Electronics such as tablets and cell phones, only if the patient can operate the item on their own. Unit staff, please make a notation in the patient’s health record regarding the receipt of the electronic.
• Medications from home for new admits – will be bagged and picked up by the inpatient units and be given to Pharmacy per current practice

Non-approved items:

• NO FOOD or DRINKS (including SHAKES) permitted
• NO Vitamins or Health Foods / over the counter remedies
• We will not accept expensive items like jewelry, etc.

Visitors requesting special approval for non-approved items will be instructed by screeners to contact their Clinical Managers for direction. Unit Clinical Managers will be responsible to review these requests with Infection Control and the Director.

Scheduled Appointments

HHS, in accordance with provincial direction, has wound down of some clinical activities. This applies to non-urgent, scheduled care and procedures, as well as ambulatory clinics. Some of these services have already paused. The majority of these temporary closures/postponements have been activated. Patients will be notified by their care team if they are affected. Clinic staff and physicians are asked to explore virtual care as an alternative (teleconference or videoconference).

Assessment Centres

HHS’ assessment centre is up and running. Staff there will see individuals who have a referral from their doctor or Hamilton Public Health Services and by appointment only.

Patients who are pregnant or in labour

One accompanying family member/caregiver will be permitted to support the patient during their labour and birth. This includes support for the patient post-delivery as long as her baby remains with her at the bedside. The support person will leave the hospital when mother and baby are discharged. For babies who require a higher level of care, we will ask the support person to go home, however they may visit the baby within the visiting guidelines for NICU. All patients and family members/caregivers should come to the hospital prepared with items they will need for their stay. This should include clothing, electronics, non-perishable snacks and toiletries that will last the duration of the stay (typically 1-3 days).

For information on COVID-19 and pregnancy, OB/GYN Dr. Dustin Costescu shares his advice.

Cafes & Cafeterias

Cafeterias at our sites are modifying their hours and operations. Food service offered at locations remaining open will be limited to take-out packaged options only. Learn more. Cafeteria seating areas are for staff-only while they practice social distancing.

Your Safety

To help prevent the spread of all types of respiratory illnesses, including influenza, Hamilton Public Health recommends:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water;
  • avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; if you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm;
  • avoid touching your face, eyes and mouth to prevent illness;
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; and,
  • get the flu shot, if you haven’t already done so.

All washrooms, consultation rooms, offices and rooms frequented by patients and visitors are cleaned regularly following provincial standards for cleaning in healthcare settings.

It’s safe for service providers and contractors to keep their normal routine at all our sites for the time being.

Hamilton Health Sciences is providing protective gear to prevent the spread of infection to staff and doctors, and making infection prevention and control staff available 24/7 to provide round-the-clock advice. Protective supplies are in high demand, and it is important that patients and families do not take hospital supplies home with them unless specifically instructed to do so.

Learner Placements & Volunteers

Some learner placements are temporarily suspended. Find out the changes learner placements during COVID-19.

To support the safety of our patients and volunteers, all volunteer activities have been suspended until operations return to normal.

Psycho-Spiritual Practitioners

A Psycho-Spiritual Practitioner is available through Paging at each site of HHS during daytime hours (0900 – 1700) to support patients, visitors and staff. Over the phone Psycho-Spiritual Care is available through Paging after hours from 1700 – 0900 daily, and throughout weekends. Full details.

Resources

Public Health Agency of Canada COVID-19 information
Government of Canada Travel Advisory
Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care COVID-19 information
Halton Public Health, including Burlington
Hamilton Public Health
Niagara Public Health

Please check Hamilton Public Health Service’s website for updates on positive cases in Hamilton.

Our leaders came together with those from the City of Hamilton and St. Joseph’s Hospital Hamilton to provide an update on COVID-19 in Hamilton. Watch.