COVID-19: Waterloo Region, Guelph area hospitals issue vaccine mandate for staff, volunteers

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Hospitals in Waterloo Region, Guelph and Wellington County have issued a joint vaccine mandate for everyone working at the facilities.

Effective Oct. 12, staff, physicians, students, volunteers and contractors working at the hospitals will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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Anyone who does not meet this requirement will be placed on leave without pay and given a short window into early November to meet the policy.

The new mandate is a joint initiative between Cambridge Memorial Hospital, Grand River Hospital, Groves Memorial Community Hospital, Guelph General Hospital, Homewood Health Centre, North Wellington Health Care Alliance and St. Mary’s General Hospital.

“Protecting the health and safety of our patients and staff has always been our priority,” said Lee Fairclough, president of St. Mary’s.

“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 first-hand. 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.”

Hospitals were directed to have vaccination policies in place by Sept. 7.

Anyone who is unvaccinated after that date will be required to undergo a mandatory education session along with two tests every week.

Those who are still unvaccinated by Oct. 12, must submit a medical or legislated exemption, or be placed on unpaid leave.

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The new mandate also means any new hires must be fully vaccinated.

“Patient and staff safety are priorities for us,” said Marianne Walker, president and CEO of 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.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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