Northumberland Hills Hospital Reinstates Visitor Restrictions

In Community, Local

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Out of an abundance of caution, Northumberland Hills Hospital announces an immediate return to Phase One of its COVID-19 Visitor Policy.

NHH President and Chief Executive Officer explained in a Christmas Eve press release that this means just one essential caregiver per patient per day can visit an admitted inpatient or accompany a patient for an ambulatory outpatient visit or procedure, as long as they meet the expectations set out in hospital policy.

Exceptions will be considered at the discretion of the care team for end-of-life patients.

Visits to confirmed COVID-positive patients (and those expected to be positive and awaiting lab results) continue to be prohibited as a key step in minimizing risk of spread within the hospital and community.

“We recognize the hardship families have faced throughout the pandemic, and we thank everyone for their continued patience and understanding as we work to balance the safety of our patient population and care team with visitor and caregiver access,” Walsh said.

“Throughout the past two years, we have relied on our COVID-19 Visitor Policy, developed with input from NHH’s Patient and Family Advisory Council and guidance published by the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement, and it has guided us well.

“Unfortunately, with cases continuing to rise in the community and region, and the percent positivity of provincial tests at an all-time high, we must again move to limit visitor interactions with patients – unfortunately at a time when many families were just looking forward to gathering.”

The announcement contained a list of precautions that apply to essential caregivers when they visit.

They must pass the screening criteria upon entry (no one will be admitted who fails the screening).

Provide name and contact information at the screening desk to support contact tracing.

Don a hospital-issued mask that covers both mouth and nose, as well as any necessary PPE required.

Use the hand sanitizer provided. Any essential caregiver wearing gloves will be asked to remove and discard them to ensure the hands are cleaned thoroughly.

Restrict presence to the patient’s bedside only, and maintain physical distancing.

Limit trips into and out of the patient’s room.

Follow COVID-19 visiting hours where applicable (recognizing that these are subject to change).

Use public washrooms only (never the facilities in patient rooms).

Refrain from consuming food in the patient’s room, and do not bring outside food or drink in.

Walsh reminds everyone that the Virtual Visiting program continues to be available. Virtual visits may be scheduled weekdays by contacting the Virtual Visiting Team at 905-372-6811 ext. 3146 or (note: to protect patient privacy, the patient’s full name should not be included in the e-mail).

The NHH COVID-19 Visitor Policy includes an appeal process – any individual patient or visitor with concerns is encouraged to contact the manager of the patient-care unit during business hours for discussion and resolution. Should such concerns arise outside of business hours (when unit managers are typically not on-site), the Clinical Operations Manager has been designated as the point person responsible for addressing such questions, in consultation with NHH’s Patient Relations Manager (or the manager/senior manager on call).

Further information is available on the hospital website, along with a list of Frequently Asked Questions, at

For news, updates, information and resources related to COVID-19, please visit

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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