A new policy at Windsor-Essex hospitals requires visitors to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.
Starting Aug. 30, Windsor Regional Hospital and Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare will require any visitors coming into hospital to abide by their vaccine policy, according to a news release on Tuesday.
Erie Shores HealthCare will implement the same policy Sept. 7.
This comes as Windsor-Essex continues to see a surge in COVID-19 cases, with active cases jumping from 50 at the start of the month to 388 Tuesday.
The region has a 5.7 per cent positivity rate, the highest in Ontario, according to Windsor Regional Hospital.
"From the start of this pandemic ... we have been proactive with our planning and policies to protect our community and staff," said Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj in a statement.
"In the past, without vaccinations, we had little choice but to stop visitation of patients when community COVID-19 numbers or positive COVID-19 inpatient numbers increased. With the massive increase in community spread of COVID-19, we have to go further than the minimum set in the province based on our local circumstances."
Earlier this month, Windsor Regional Hospital mandated a similar policy for all staff, including contractors, students and volunteers. Days ago, the province issued a directive that all hospitals must have a strict vaccination and testing policy in place for all staff as of Sept.7.
"It's clear the highly transmissible delta variant has taken hold in our community, and Erie Shores needs to take every precaution to keep our patients, staff, and community safe," said Erie Shores HealthCare CEO Kristin Kennedy in a statement.
Each hospital says anyone visiting an in-patient or attending with someone for an outpatient procedure must:
Provide documented proof of their COVID-19 vaccination showing that 14 days have passed since their second COVID-19 dose.
Or provide a negative PCR test result taken within three days before their visit.
Each hospital will make accommodations through another process in the event a person is the parent/guardian of a pediatric patient, visiting a palliative patient, a labouring patient or a patient with a life-altering or critical illness that has been identified by the clinical team, and cannot provide proof of their vaccination or does not have time to receive a test.
The hospitals said COVID-19 vaccine receipts can be found online. Those taking a test must do so at a community swabbing centre. Regardless of vaccination status, the hospitals said any visitors will need to wear personal protective equipment.