Employees of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance have a month-and-a-half to complete their vaccine regimen if they wish to continue working at the hospital.
Anyone employed at the facility, including nurses, have until Halloween to be fully dosed plus 14 days. Given the minimum 28 day interval between first and second doses, this means staff have only until Sept. 18 to get their first shot. They could then receive their second shot by Oct. 17 in order to meet the Oct. 31 deadline.
Following that, anyone without a medical exemption will be fired from their position with the hospital.
“Our senior team and I have been rounding both sides to chat with staff and physicians just to make sure that they know where to go to get more information if they need to,” says hospital President & CEO Lori Marshall. She says about 86 per cent of staff have declared themselves vaccinated.
“I have had conversations with individuals who are on both sides of the vaccine discussion,” says Marshall. “And I am pleased that all of those conversations have been very professional. That's all I can ask for at this stage.”
Marshall says two clinics at the hospital this month were well attended, including by staff. “We continue to hope that with news of our policy decision, as well as the vaccine passport in the province, we will continue to see our numbers increase,” she says.
The issue is even more pressing as cases rise in Chatham-Kent and the hospital deals with a pair of COVID outbreaks of its own. Three cases have been confirmed in the Rehabilitation/Stroke Unit and three cases in the Medicine Unit. No visitors will be allowed in either unit until the outbreaks are cleared up.
Four staff are isolating because they either have the virus or were close to someone who did.
Monday there were 17 people in the hospital with COVID.
Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent