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Information for Sunnybrook patients during the COVID-19 pandemic

Last updated: January 6, 2022

Important update for inpatients - January 2022:

With the increased activity of COVID-19 in the community, you may be admitted to a unit with additional visitor restrictions or experience new visitor restrictions during your hospital stay to keep you, staff and visitors as safe as possible. You may also be required to take extra precautions when you are discharged from Sunnybrook such as self-isolation. More information will be provided to you during your admission.

Arriving at Sunnybrook

Screening for symptoms at the door

We are screening all patients and approved essential care partners at the door.

As of November 9, 2021, all essential care partners must also be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (14 days after the final dose of a Health Canada-approved vaccine). Patients may still enter the hospital regardless of their vaccination status.

We will also be restricting access to specific doors on all of our sites.

When coming to the hospital as a patient you will be asked these questions:

  1. Are you currently experiencing any of the following symptoms?: Fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, decreased sense of taste or smell, vomiting, diarrhea, runny nose or nasal congestion, fatigue, muscle aches, pink eye
  2. Have you tested positive for COVID-19 or been told to self-isolate in the past 10 days?
  3. Have you received your second COVID-19 vaccination dose more than 14 days ago?

Patients: If you are feeling ill prior to your appointment, please call the clinic or health-care provider you are seeing. They can advise on next steps.

Essential care partners/hospital visitors: As of Tuesday, November 9, 2021, essential care partners will be required to be fully vaccinated (it must be 14 days since the visitor has received a final dose of a Health Canada-approved vaccine) and also pass screening.

Entryway restrictions at Sunnybrook's campuses

Bayview Campus

Patients are only be able to access our Bayview Campus using the below entrances:

  • M-Wing, First floor (main entrance) (M1)
  • J-Wing, Ground Floor (JG) entrance
  • H-Wing, Ground floor (HG), west entrance (enter underneath canopy) 
  • T-Wing, east entrance

Our Emergency Department entrance is also open for those who are coming to Sunnybrook for emergency care.

COVID-19 Assessment Centre

The Sunnybrook COVID-19 Assessment Centre is now located at 80 Armistice Drive. This building is located at the northern part of Sunnybrook's Bayview Campus, often called "The Estates." More information.

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

For information about our COVID-19 vaccine clinic, please visit sunnybrook.ca/vaccine-clinic

Veterans Centre & palliative care unit (Bayview Campus)

For information about our Veterans Centre and palliative care unit, please visit this page.

All other sites

For all other sites (the Holland Centre, St. John’s Rehab and the Reactivation Care Centre), patients will be screened at the main entrances of each of these sites. Access will be restricted to the main entrance for all of these locations.

How do I get to Sunnybrook's COVID-19 Assessment Centre?

For information about Sunnybrook's COVID-19 Assessment Centre, including location and hours of operation, please visit sunnybrook.ca/assessment

How do I get to Sunnybrook's COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic?

For information about Sunnybrook's COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic, please visit sunnybrook.ca/vaccine-clinic. For information about vaccine eligibility and booking, please visit sunnybrook.ca/vaccine

Questions about appointments, procedures and surgeries

I have a confirmed in-person appointment. What do I need to know?

All patients who have a confirmed in-person appointment at the hospital will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 prior to their appointment. This means someone from the clinic will phone you to see how you are feeling. On the day of your appointment, you will also be screened for symptoms at the door before entering the hospital.

If you have an upcoming appointment and are feeling unwell, please call your health-care provider ahead of your visit to discuss next steps.

Please be advised that during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sunnybrook is limiting visitors in the hospital. At this time, family members or companions are not able to accompany patients to their in-person appointments, unless the patient meets the criteria of someone who requires an essential care partner; this status must be approved by the patient's care team. View more information about Sunnybrook's visitor policy during COVID-19.

Please note, we are also be restricting access to specific doors on all of our sites.

Patients can only access our Bayview Campus using the below entrances:

  • M-wing, first floor (main entrance) (M1)
  • J-Wing, ground floor (JG) entrance
  • H-Wing, ground floor, west entrance (HG) - enter underneath canopy
  • T-Wing, east entrance

» View map of entrances

For all other sites (the Holland Centre, St. John’s Rehab and the Reactivation Care Centre), access is restricted to the main entrance.

Will my appointment go ahead as scheduled?

In order to reduce the number of people in the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still encouraging our health-care teams to have virtual or phone visits with their patients whenever possible.

If you have any questions about your upcoming appointment, please contact your health-care provider’s office directly.

I have a virtual care appointment at Sunnybrook. What does this mean, and how can I prepare for my appointment?

Do I need to wear a mask when coming to the hospital?

Sunnybrook requires all patients to wear a mask when in the hospital.

Patients who are coming to the hospital for appointments will be provided with a mask when entering the hospital. 

Hospital in-patients will be provided with masks by their care team.

Masks can help prevent the spread of respiratory illness, including COVID-19, when important measures such as physical distancing are not possible.

» View information about properly and safely wearing a mask

Can my loved one accompany me to my outpatient appointment?

View more information about Sunnybrook's visitor policy during COVID-19.

We understand this is a challenging time for our outpatients who are unable to have a companion accompany them to hospital appointments. Physical space in our waiting rooms, patient care areas, hallways, etc. is limited. In order to ensure safe physical distancing, it is important that we continue to limit traffic to those who need to be here the most. We are looking forward to welcoming back all visitors and companions once it is safe to do so.

If your loved one is dropping you off for an appointment, here's what you can expect:

  • When you arrive at the hospital you will be greeted by a screener. The screener will ask a series of questions related to COVID-19 safety before entry.
  • Directions to your appointment location will be provided, if needed.
  • If you require assistance, a porter will take you to and from your appointment.
  • It is recommended that, if possible, your loved one waits in their vehicle so they can be physically distanced from others.

Why was my appointment cancelled?

While Sunnybrook is safe and remains open to our patients, we are taking some precautionary steps during the COVID-19 pandemic to help limit the number of people in the hospital during this time. This includes postponing of any non-urgent visits to the hospital.

If you have any questions about your specific situation, please contact your health-care provider directly for more information.

Is my medical imaging (x-ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound, mammogram) appointment cancelled?

Our medical imaging team will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled.

Your safety is our priority. Our Infection Prevention & Control team is diligent in ensuring the best practices are maintained to protect our patients and staff. This includes cleaning our equipment after each patient, cleaning surfaces often, restricting visitors and using the proper personal protective equipment when needed.

If you cannot attend your appointment, please call 416-480-4336 so we may offer the appointment time to someone else. Missing your appointment without notice not only puts others needing medical imaging at risk but also contributes to a significant cost for our health-care system.

Why was my surgery postponed?

Throughout the pandemic, the hospital may need to implement service reductions at times in order to be able to care for patients that require urgent and emergency care. If your surgery is impacted by service changes, a member of your health-care team will contact you. Your surgeon's office will contact you as soon as your surgery can be rescheduled. If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please contact your surgeon’s office.

We understand this is not an ideal situation, and we appreciate your understanding during this time.

I have a confirmed procedure, treatment or surgery at the hospital. What do I need to know?

For your health, and for the safety of staff, we want to ensure you minimize your chance of getting COVID-19 in the time leading up to your surgery, procedure or treatment at the hospital. Please visit the resources below for instructions and information to help minimize your risk:

» Information for patients scheduled for surgery or a procedure at Sunnybrook

» Information for cancer patients starting new treatment

I have a confirmed surgery at the hospital. Do I need to get a COVID-19 test?

Yes, all surgical patients (including those booked for surgeries) will be asked to get a COVID-19 test before their surgery. We also ask that you self-isolate for 14 days before your procedure.

» View all information for patients scheduled for surgery or a procedure at Sunnybrook

Is your Emergency Department still open?

Yes. Our Emergency Department is open and safe for patients. Please note that due to COVID-19, visitor and companion restrictions are in place in our Emergency Department. View visitor and companion guidelines »

Virtual Emergency Department

If you are age 16+ and experiencing an urgent but non-life threatening medical concern, you can now book a same-day virtual appointment with a Sunnybrook Emergency Department doctor, Monday to Friday. Learn more »

General questions

I can’t get through on the phone. What do I do?

We are experiencing a high volume of phone calls. We understand that this is frustrating at this uncertain time. Thank you for your patience as our staff work to answer questions and re-book appointments.

Can I pick up my prescription at the M-Wing or Odette Cancer Centre pharmacies?

You can still pick up your prescription at the pharmacies. Please note you will be screened at the door for symptoms. Curbside pick-up may also be available to you. Please speak to a pharmacy staff member about this option.

Are restaurants, coffee shops, and other food retailers open at Sunnybrook?

Restaurants and other food services are still available at Sunnybrook. Some retailers are operating on reduced hours, and others are closed for the time being. Proof of full vaccination status must be provided when sitting down to eat or drink at any of Sunnybrook's cafeterias. Please visit our food services web page to learn more about what's open, closed, and for hours of operation. 

Why is seating restricted in waiting rooms and dining areas?

You may see signage or tape on seats in waiting and dining spaces across the hospital. These restrictions have been put in place in common areas to signal physical distancing among patients.

Are there volunteers at the hospital?

We are pleased to share that we recently welcomed back a small number of volunteers. Under the guidance of our Infection Prevention and Control team, a return to selected roles was approved, and these volunteers are being provided with updated training around the use of personal protective equipment, as well as all necessary safety and healthy workplace protocols. At present, this gradual reintegration of volunteers does not include all areas of the hospital and will abide by strict protocols that follow established health directives.

Please note that Volunteer Resources will not be recruiting or accepting any new volunteer applicants until our current roster of volunteers has been given the opportunity to return, based on current health and safety protocols.

Can I donate food or drop off treats for front-line staff/my care team?

We have received many kind gestures to provide support to our front-line staff through food and beverage donations. These are much appreciated, and for the safety of the public, patients, and our staff, the following guidelines have been created. Please note we cannot accept homemade meals at this time.

Bringing treats to your care team

Many patients ask us if they can bring treats and beverages to their care team as a way of expressing their gratitude. Please note that we will only be able to accept food and beverages that are packaged according to our COVID-19 guidelines. If you are planning on dropping off something for staff to eat or drink, please follow the guidelines below – we don’t want to see anything go to waste!

Food/beverages must meet the following criteria:
  • Be provided as single portions
  • Be in a covered container, individually wrapped, or placed in individual sealed bags with cutlery
  • Must not require refrigeration or heating and must indicate how long they last at room temperature
  • Must include explicit labeling of ingredients (including indication regarding food sensitivities)
  • Beverages must be in individual cans or bottles

Online/cash donations

You may express your gratitude and support by making an online donation by visiting sunnybrook.ca/FeedTeamSunnybrook, and indicating that your donation is to support staff meals and wellness.

Donations will be used to purchase meals or beverages for staff through our hospital food services, or to fund delivery of food/wellness packages from third party suppliers.

Restaurant and catered meals

Gift cards/promotional codes: The preferred method for receiving donated restaurant meals is via gift cards, or through the opportunity for team members to order a meal for self-pickup or home delivery using a Sunnybrook-specific coupon or promotional code

Bulk deliveries: Drop-offs of bulk deliveries are only accepted when pre-arranged by contacting fooddonations@sunnybrook.ca. Unfortunately, those dropping off food will not be able to enter the hospital.

Bulk deliveries will be accepted from licensed restaurants and caterers that comply with Toronto Public Health’s Dine Safe program, and have received a pass notice on their most recent inspection. Restaurants and caterers must also represent that they screen their staff for symptoms of communicable illness, including COVID-19, prior to any food being prepared for Sunnybrook.

Food/beverages for delivery must meet the following criteria:
  • Be provided as single portions
  • Be in a covered container, individually wrapped, or placed in individual sealed bags with cutlery
  • Must not require refrigeration or heating and must indicate how long they last at room temperature
  • Must include explicit labeling of ingredients (including indication regarding food sensitivities)
  • Beverages must be in individual cans or bottles

Food manufacturers & distributors (including grocery stores)

The preferred method for receiving donations of grocery items is by giving staff access to online ordering so that they can have their groceries delivered directly to their homes, or picked up after their shift.

Bulk donations of grocery items must meet the following criteria:
  • Non-perishable and commercially prepared items (similar to the foods donated to food banks)
  • Exception may be made for perishable foods including fruits and vegetables, provided they can sustained without refrigeration or be delivered close to the pick-up time
  • Items that can be picked up by staff without the need for sorting or selecting from groups of food (e.g. individual “baskets” of food or pre-ordered selections)

What is your vaccine policy for staff?

At Sunnybrook, we have adopted the provincial mandatory vaccination policy that all staff must follow. We have achieved 100% vaccine compliance with our physicians and 95% of our staff have received the vaccine. We continue to work with our remaining staff to ensure they receive the vaccine. Those who are unvaccinated must comply with regular COVID-19 testing to ensure they are safe to work. All new hires at Sunnybrook must be vaccinated against COVID-19.

While our organization is not permitted to share the individual vaccination information of our staff, if you have further questions about the safety measures we have put in place, feel free to discuss with the unit/location manager.

Like all hospitals across Ontario, we are continuing to manage through significant staffing challenges to ensure we are able to provide care when our patients need us most.

Information for in-patients

Sunnybrook is now testing all patients for COVID-19 who are admitted to the hospital. To keep everyone safe, patients who decline a test may be managed as if they have tested positive for COVID-19 if they have symptoms or require surgery or a procedure.

I’m being admitted to the hospital. Why do I need to be tested for COVID-19?

We are now testing all patients for COVID-19 upon their admission to the hospital, including for scheduled surgeries, because of the high rates of transmission of COVID-19 in the community. Doing so helps to keep our staff and other patients safe.

What happens if I decline to be tested for COVID-19 upon admission?

If you decline to be tested for COVID-19 when being admitted to the hospital, or before undergoing a procedure or surgery, we may manage your care within our current COVID-19 protocols:

  • You may be managed on additional precautions. This means that staff and your approved fully vaccinated essential care partners will need to wear appropriate personal protective equipment such as gown and gloves for all interactions with you, in addition to the mask and eye protection they wear when interacting with all patients
  • Appointments may be scheduled at the end of the day to accommodate additional cleaning after your visit

Can my loved ones visit me in the hospital during my stay as an in-patient?

Can I order food through delivery services?

Bayview campus: Takeaway orders from restaurants or food delivery services such as UberEats, Skip the Dishes, DoorDash are permitted on the Bayview campus. Delivery people are not permitted to enter the building so arrangements must be made for an order to be picked up at the entrance. Patients may pick up food orders at the front (M1) entrance. Where this is not possible, please consult M1 Courtesy Service, who may be available to assist between the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 416-480-6100 extension 2141. To ensure the continued safety of residents, the Veterans Centre remains unable to accept deliveries from restaurants and other food delivery services at this time.

Holland Centre: The Holland Centre is unable to accept drop-offs of food for patients at this time.

St John’s Rehab: SJR does not have the capacity to accept food deliveries for inpatients from UberEats, Skip the Dishes, DoorDash and other food delivery services at any of our campuses at this time.

Reactivation Care Centre (RCC) – Church Site: The RCC location is unable to accept drop offs of food for patients at this time.

I was hospitalized with COVID-19, and have been discharged home. How do I continue my recovery from home?

Program-specific information

Some COVID-19 questions & answers may be specific to the program area or clinic you are a patient of:

Tips and information from Sunnybrook experts

Mental health information:

Tips for health-care workers: