Hamilton hospitals applaud masking bylaw and urge public compliance
Experts at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH), the city’s two hospital systems, applaud City Council’s decision to implement a bylaw mandating mask-wearing in public enclosed spaces, effective today, July 20.
“Although our community has done a commendable job in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, ongoing prevention is key to avoiding a future surge,” says Dr. Marek Smieja, microbiologist and infectious disease physician at SJHH. “Mask-wearing is a simple but effective way to protect one another, and the more people who mask up, the more effective it is.”
Protecting each other
The new masking bylaw supports hospital policies already in place.
Currently, all visitors and patients are required to wear a mask in Hamilton’s hospitals, with the exception of in-patients (those who are admitted). Patients, visitors and staff are provided a mask upon entry, and additional precautions including symptom screening remain in place.
“Healthcare professionals follow strict precautions, including wearing medical-grade masks, to protect each other and our patients from COVID-19,” says Dr. Kuldeep Sidhu, chief of emergency services at HHS. “By wearing a mask during your hospital visit, you’re helping to protect us, in return.”
Both experts agree that mandating mask-wearing is an important step toward keeping the COVID-19 virus at bay, particularly as the 2020 infectious disease season approaches.
“Every year, we see a surge in the number of cold and flu cases in our community, which put additional strain on our community’s healthcare resources,” says Dr. Smieja. “This year, we have an additional threat to contend with. It’s more important than ever that we work together to keep our community healthy, so that we can maintain capacity in our system to care for those who need it most.”