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Local hospitals issue vaccine mandates

As of  October 12, staff, doctors, students, contractors and volunteers working at and with local hospitals will be required to be fully vaccinated. Any staff that don’t meet these expectations will be placed on leave without pay and given a small window of opportunity to meet the policy.

The new mandate was a combined effort of the local hospitals to reduce the spread of COVID-19, help hospitals manage the waitlists, and help stabilize the fourth wave of the pandemic.

“Our response throughout the pandemic has been a collaborative approach across our community as we continue to protect our patients and our staff,” said Patrick Gaskin, president and CEO of Cambridge Memorial Hospital. “Our new joint vaccination policies are simply one more important step forward that we are taking to achieve this, together.”

Cambridge Memorial Hospital together with Grand River Hospital, Groves Memorial Community Hospital, Guelph General Hospital, Homewood Health Centre, North Wellington Health Care Alliance and St. Mary’s General Hospital have all jointly stated that they will be implementing the same vaccination policies, making a joint statement last week.

“Protecting the health and safety of our patients and staff has always been our priority,” said Lee Fairclough, president, St. Mary’s General Hospital and hospital lead for COVID response. “Vaccines are an important tool in the COVID fight and in our response to the highly transmissible Delta variant—something that we have witnessed the impact of firsthand. We are pleased that vaccination rates are high within our hospitals and community and are very grateful to everyone who has chosen to become fully vaccinated. It is our responsibility to implement every safety measure possible to protect our patients and teams.”

Effective October 12, anyone working with or at the hospitals must be fully vaccinated or have submitted a medical or legislated exemption.

“Patient and staff safety are priorities for us,” said Marianne Walker, president and chief executive officer for Guelph General Hospital. “We want to do everything possible to protect our patients, our staff and the health of the community, and we know that vaccines are critical in reducing the spread of the virus.”

The announcement coincides with other mandates and policies that are being implemented by the region’s local businesses, educational institutions and organizations after the province opted for vaccine passports as of September 22.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is a vital measure of protection, particularly as more services continue to open up, and community spread continues to increase,” said Ron Gagnon, president and chief executive officer, Grand River Hospital. “As a health care organization, we have a responsibility to safeguard and protect the health and wellness of those we work with, and those we care for. This policy, which we are implementing with our partners, will help to support this mandate and keep our community safe.”

“We encourage anyone in our community that has not made the choice yet to get vaccinated, to do so. Becoming fully vaccinated is one of the ways in which we can all do our part to protect our family, friends and neighbours,” added Fairclough.

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