Screening precautions for coronavirus COVID-19 are in place at our sites. Click for details.

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January 24, 2020

Screening precautions for coronavirus


By now, you’ve almost certainly heard about the new coronavirus that began in Wuhan, China. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses ranging from the common cold to much more serious diseases, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), or Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The new strain of coronavirus is called COVID-19.

While the risk to Canadians remains low at this point, Hamilton Health Sciences is taking precautions. We are proactively screening patients at all of our sites. What does that mean for you? On arrival to the hospital, patients will be asked about their symptoms, particularly respiratory symptoms. If you have a fever and/or cough or difficulty breathing, put on a mask, clean your hands, and go directly to your appointment or emergency department and notify the receptionist/triage nurse.

In addition to these symptoms, immediately inform the nurse or physician if you have:

• Traveled to mainland China in the 14 days before getting sick, OR
• Been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, OR
• Been in contact with someone who is sick and was in mainland China within 14 days before getting ill.

If they are at risk of having the virus, they will be taken to a special isolation room until a diagnosis can be confirmed.

We are also stocking up on 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.

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


Public Health Agency of Canada

Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care

Toronto Public Health