MASKS WILL CONTINUE TO BE REQUIRED PAST JUNE 11. VISITORS MUST ALSO BE ASYMPTOMATIC & FULLY VACCINATED. »

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Emergency Department visitor information

Changes in effect June 1, 2022 at 7 a.m.

The Emergency Department (ED) carefully considers its approach to visitors, balancing safety, compassion, and physical space limitations. We know that visitors and essential care partners are important to our patients.

Each patient in our ED is allowed one visitor at a time. The visitor must be fully vaccinated, masked, and have no symptoms of COVID-19. If a second person wishes to visit the patient, the first visitor must first leave.

Due to physical space limitations, and to decrease the risk to our patients and staff, the following protocols are in place depending on where the patient will be assessed (this is a triage decision based on their medical needs):

  • Blue zone, Green zone, Purple zone, and Central hallway: visitors must remain in their patient’s rooms/areas at all times. Please be aware that we cannot guarantee a chair for the visitor.
  • Orange zone: There are significant space limitations in this zone, and so most visitors will have to stand next to the patient. If a visitor has difficulty standing for prolonged periods, we advise them to wait in the waiting room or at home, and we can provide updates by phone. After assessment by the physician, we may ask the visitor to go back to the waiting room (or home) to wait if further testing or treatment is necessary. There are some exceptions, where the visitor will be able to stay with the patient throughout their time in orange zone if the patient:
    • is 18 years of age and younger
    • has cognitive impairment, developmental and/or intellectual disability
    • is at risk of wandering and/or falls
    • has a language barrier

All visitors must wear a mask continuously and properly, covering both mouth and nose, without exception. Please note that visitors are not allowed to eat/drink in the ED, as this would require lowering the mask (visitors may leave to eat/drink in the cafeteria and then return).

All visitors must be fully vaccinated (which is defined as 2 weeks post second dose). The following limited exceptions apply to this vaccination policy, whereby one unvaccinated visitor would be permitted:

  • During childbirth
  • Patient is 18 years of age or younger
  • Patient has significant developmental and/or intellectual disability
  • Patient has sudden critical illness (requiring admission to Intensive Care Unit)
  • Patient is at end of life

If a patient is at the end of their life (less than 72 hours life expectancy): This is the only situation where a patient may have up to 2 visitors at the bedside at one time.

Visitors who are not in compliance with the requirements outlined above will be required to leave. We have a zero tolerance policy for violence or harassment in the ED.

Please note that these rules apply for all patients in the ED, including those who are admitted. Once a patient moves from the ED to an inpatient area, different rules will apply. The most up to date rules can be found at: sunnybrook.ca/COVID19.

If a patient is known to have active, confirmed, COVID-19, they are not permitted a visitor unless they meet the same exceptions listed above for fully vaccinated ECPs. In these cases:

  • the visitor must have no symptoms of COVID-19
  • the visitor must be fully vaccinated (unless patient is End of Life 48-72 hours)
  • the visitor must have had no known contact with a positive case of COVID-19 in the last 5 days (or 10 days if unvaccinated)
  • the patient may not be undergoing continuous aerosol-generating medical procedure (AGMP) where mitigation strategies are not possible (e.g., temporarily pausing AGMP while visitor is present)

Thank you for your understanding.