Several Montreal hospitals restrict visitors amid soaring COVID-19 cases

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Starting Sunday, all patient visits at the CHUM are prohibited until further notice, while visits at the MUHC will only be allowed in end-of-life situations or based on the clinical judgment of the care team, for a two-week period.  (CBC - image credit)
Starting Sunday, all patient visits at the CHUM are prohibited until further notice, while visits at the MUHC will only be allowed in end-of-life situations or based on the clinical judgment of the care team, for a two-week period. (CBC - image credit)

Multiple Montreal hospitals have suspended or restricted visitors, as of Sunday, as COVID-19 cases surge across the region, driven by the Omicron variant.

In a release issued Saturday, the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM) said it chose to suspend visits to hospitalized patients in order to ensure their safety and that of hospital employees.

As of 8 a.m. on Dec.26, "all patient visits will be prohibited until further notice, except for a few exceptions," the release reads.

Those exceptions include end-of-life care, medical assistance in dying and childbirth.

On Friday, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) announced it is also restricting visits in intensive care and critical care units at the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Montreal General Hospital and the Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital.

"This difficult decision was made in order to ensure the safety of our most critically ill patients," a release from the health-care network read.

For a two-week period starting at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, visits will only be allowed in end-of-life situations or based on the clinical judgment of the care team, MUHC wrote, adding it will make sure there are other ways patients will still be able to communicate with their families.

For other hospitals across the region, the most recent visitor guidelines, issued by Quebec's Health Ministry, updated on Dec. 20, allow visits by caregivers and others under certain conditions.

In the event of overflow or exceptional situations, the province said the institution may restrict access to caregivers on a temporary basis, subject to approval by the ministry.

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