Update on COVID-19 in Region and SLMHC

At Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC), we remain thankful that the presence of the COVID-19 virus within the catchment area that we serve has been minimal.   This is a direct result of the precautions taken by each community, our organization, as well as our partner organizations in health.  At this time, we wish to update the public on new, positive cases in our region and how this is impacting SLMHC.

Over the past few days, we have had three individuals admitted to the hospital who tested positive for COVID-19, and there are five positive cases that have been identified outside of the hospital setting.  The hospital staff and physicians have prepared well over the past few months for this situation and want to reassure the public that all precautions, including a separate COVID-19 unit, continue to be in place to keep everyone safe.  Additionally, our team continues to work closely with the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority public health program as well as the Northwestern Health Unit; both who are responsible for contact tracing in their respective jurisdictions, to ensure required testing and/or isolation protocols are carried out.  We recognize the authority of each respective public health service in their case management and contact tracing, and remind the public to refer to their external updates for the most accurate information about COVID-19 cases in our region.

Like many other communities across Canada, we know that we must be attentive to infection control practices, as we continue to follow provincial COVID-19 guidelines. Ontario has begun the process of recovery and many services will be slowly starting to re-open. Here at SLMHC, we are ensuring this process is completed in a structured manner, to ensure everyone is kept safe and that we continue to decrease the risk of exposure.

“As we slowly ramp-up services, we are required to review the parameters set out by the ministry on a weekly basis. If parameters are not met, or if we see an increase in COVID cases or cause for alarm, we will ramp down services,” says Heather Lee, President and CEO of SLMHC. “At this time, with these new cases in our region and catchment area, we are continuing with visitor restrictions and entrance screening.  This is a time to be conscientious along our journey back to providing all of our services and getting back to normal with an understanding that our new normal may look a little different when this pandemic is over. Whatever our new normal looks like, it will always honour our values of compassion, respect, quality and teamwork.”

Visitor/Escort Restrictions

SLMHC acknowledges that restricting family from seeing their loved-ones is very difficult and creates a great deal of anxiety for all involved.  We want to thank everyone for their patience and kindness as we try to make challenging situational decisions through the lens of safety, culture, and compassion.   However, at this time, we will continue to enforce visitor/escort restrictions at the hospital site as follows:

  • One essential care partner for Integrated Pregnancy Program clients, laboring patients and obstetrical inpatients
  • One essential care partner for pediatric patients
  • One essential care partner for patient having same-day surgical procedure
  • One support person for critically ill patient or patients requiring decision-making/planning for transfer
  • One essential care partner for palliative patients
  • Imminently palliative patient at end of life:
    • Immediate family only (parent, spouse, children, sibling)
    • Two family members may visit at one time (this restriction may be adjusted based on the situation)
    • Family approved to stay with patient overnight in accordance with 1 & 2

As a reminder to everyone, all approved visitors/escorts must pass screening.

Screening Remains in Place

At both the William A. George Extended Care facility and the hospital, screening remains in place. The hospital will continue to operate with reduced entrances to the building, and all patients/clients/visitors must use the Emergency Department entrance for the foreseeable future.

Screening continues to involve being asked about symptoms and possible exposure, as well as being given a mask and directed to wash hands when entering/exiting.  Essential care partners are asked to bring and launder their own cloth mask to help preserve medical grade masks for staff and physicians.  We thank everyone for their positive attitude and patience during this time!

Getting more Information

SLMHC has launched a new website this past month and remind the public and patients/clients that all of our information about COVID-19 is online. This includes information about our services, our COVID-19 Assessment Centre, and how COVID-19 is impacting us at SLMHC. This is all available online, anytime, at www.slmhc.on.ca

Please remember to practice social distancing, cover sneezes and coughs, and practice good hand hygiene.  If you cannot maintain a distance of 2 metres from others, please wear a mask.