Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for MGH patients and visitors
Last updated on October 9, 2020
The safety of our patients, visitors, families and caregivers is a top priority. Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) has been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and continues to implement changes across the hospital to protect the health and safety of our community. Below, you will find important information for patients and visitors about what to do if you are planning on coming to the hospital.
Please check this page before coming to the hospital to ensure you are up-to-date with the latest changes.
what to expect
Entering the hospital
In order to maintain the health and safety of our patients, staff, visitors and community at large, MGH has implemented the following entry restrictions and enhanced screening precautions:
- Entry into the hospital will be restricted to the main entrance on Coxwell Avenue for all members of the public including patients, patient escorts, visitors, caregivers, vendors etc. The public will not be allowed to use any of the other hospital entrances.
- Hematology, oncology, chemotherapy and dialysis patients must also use the main entrance on Coxwell Avenue.
- The Emergency Department entrance will remain open for those seeking urgent care.
- All individuals coming through the main entrance will be screened for signs and/or symptoms of respiratory illness. Please be prepared to answer questions about symptoms, potential exposure to COVID-positive individuals, travel history and more.
- Screeners will be collecting necessary information such as your name and/or contact information. If you have an appointment at the hospital, please arrive early to give yourself time to go through the screening process.
- All patients and visitors are reminded to please limit the amount of personal belongings being brought into the hospital. Please only bring what is necessary for your visit.
Wearing a mask
- Anyone entering the building will be required to wear a mask for the duration of their visit.
- Patients who come to the hospital with their own mask will have the mask evaluated by the screener.
- Masks with exhale vents or valves will not be allowed as they do not prevent the spread of germs.
- Masks must be new/clean (for disposable masks) or freshly washed (for reusable cloth masks).
- You may be contacted ahead of your appointment to answer screening questions over the phone.
- Before visiting the hospital for an appointment, please contact the clinic ahead of time if you:
- are experiencing a fever or a combination of respiratory symptoms (cough, congestion, runny-nose)
- if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19
- have recently travelled outside of Canada or have been in close contact with someone who has travelled outside of Canada
- If you have respiratory symptoms, exposure to someone with COVID-19 or have returned from travel outside of Canada recently, your appointment may be re-scheduled.
Escorts/family members bringing you to your appointment will not be able to accompany you throughout your visit. They may bring you to the location of your appointment within the hospital but then will have to go back down to wait in the car/elsewhere. Exceptions will be made for those who have mobility/cognitive challenges or require translation. You can contact your escort/family member when you are ready to go home so they can come back to pick you up. Please see below for more information on our visitor policy.
- Our Emergency Department (ED) remains open for those seeking urgent care.
- Upon arrival, you will be screened for signs and/or symptoms of respiratory illness. Individuals experiencing signs/symptoms of respiratory illness will wait in a designated area of the ED.
- For visitor and support person information, please see the visitor information section below.
Food and beverage
- Members of the public who do not have formal business at the hospital but who wish to use the hospital’s food and retail vendors will not be allowed inside the building.
- Click here for a list of food vendors. Note: Vendors have limited hours during COVID-19.
- For information on bringing food and drink when visiting a patient, please see the Visitor section below.
COVID-19 Assessment Centre
In response to the increase in COVID-19 cases in Toronto and community spread of the virus, Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) has opened a COVID-19 Assessment Centre.
We are using virtual appointments to reduce the number of people in the hospital. During a virtual appointment you do not come to the hospital to meet in person. Instead, you speak with your care team using a regular telephone, smartphone or your computer. Click here for more information if you have been scheduled for a telephone or virtual appointment with your care team at MGH.
Protecting the health and safety of our patients, staff and community is our top priority through the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to update our visitor restrictions as the COVID-19 situation evolves in our community.
Patients who meet the visitor permission criteria below are asked to name one designated essential caregiver and one alternate who may visit. A caregiver may be a family member, friend or someone who supports essential care (such as feeding).
The designated essential caregiver or alternate may schedule a visit once daily during specified visiting hours for the following:
- a patient who is near death
- a patient undergoing major surgery
- a patient who has a long stay in hospital (more than 30 days)
- a patient who has a life altering event and/or diagnosis
- a patient who is suffering from a critical illness (including mental health crisis)
- a patient who the care team determines requires support with communication (e.g. language interpretation)
- a patient with cognitive impairment
- a patient who has a caregiver that supports essential patient care (such as feeding)
Visiting Hours for Essential Visitors
The designated essential caregiver or alternate may visit the patient once per day between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Visits will be limited to one hour long.
The designated essential caregiver or alternate may visit outside of the visiting hours only for patients who meet the criteria below:
- a patient who is imminently dying
- an ill child (1 parent or guardian at a time)
- a patient giving birth
- a patient who has a significant developmental or intellectual disability
These exceptions to the visiting hours are decided at the unit level.
Booking your visit
In order to maintain safe physical distancing in the hospital, visitors must schedule visits in advance with a patient’s care team. Please call the patient’s department/area directly to confirm its visiting hours and to schedule the time and duration of your visit. If you do not have the extension of the patient’s department/area, please call the Hospital’s switchboard at 416-461-8272 and ask to be transferred.
Information for Patients in the Emergency Department:
- One designated caregiver only
- Visitor must stay in the ED room with the patient
- Caregivers will not be able to accompany patients if they are transferred to another unit
Visitor safety when on-site:
- Screening: All visitors must enter through the main entrance on Coxwell Avenue and will be screened before entering the building. Visitors who are under the age of 16, have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days or who have respiratory illness symptoms will not be allowed inside the building.
- Hand Washing: All visitors must wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand rub when entering the hospital and before entering a patient care area and room.
- Masking: Visitors will be provided with a cloth mask upon entry which must be worn at all times. If visitors bring their own mask, the masks will be evaluated by a screener. Masks must not have an exhalation valve and must be new/clean (for disposable masks) or freshly washed (for reusable cloth masks).
- Physical Distancing: Visitors are asked to maintain 6 ft. of distance between themselves and others at all times. Visitors are asked to go directly to the patient’s room or clinic area and not stop in other areas of the hospital. .
Food will be permitted if it is part of a patient’s care plan or if specific cultural practice requires outside food and drink. In these cases, food must be brought in sealable, wipeable containers. Use of hospital fridges and/or microwaves will not be permitted.
Video visit options:
We understand that in-person visits may be difficult for some patients and their loved ones. Virtual visitation (via the Zoom platform on a hospital iPad) is available in many areas. Click here to learn more about our Video Family Visit program.
Appeals to the Family Presence during COVID-19 policy:
If you would like to pursue an exception to the Family Presence (Essential Visitors) policy, please contact the Patient Relations office via email at @email or via phone at 416-469-6096. A Patient Experience Specialist will guide you through the appeals process.