Bluewater Health implements several changes in preparation for COVID

Hospital readies for potential impact by changing traditional operations

Bluewater Health, in both locations, is implementing several changes to normal operations in response to COVID-19 readiness including social distancing and creating capacity for potential increased demand. These will go into effect Wednesday March 18, 2020.

Surgeries and Procedures

All surgeries and procedures are limited to emergency and life-threatening.

Surgical and endoscopy patients will be notified by their specialist to cancel or reschedule their procedure. Only emergent and life-threatening cases will proceed at this time. The Pat Mailloux Eye Centre in Petrolia is closed and emergency cases will be performed at the Sarnia hospital.

“We are in unprecedented times and recognize that the delay of non-life-threatening surgeries can be stressful,” noted Dr. Mike Haddad, Chief of Staff.  “We will continue to perform surgery on those where time sensitivity is paramount and life-threatening. This decision was made collectively with our surgical colleagues and the unanimous belief is that this is a responsible course of action given the current situation.”


All clinics at both sites are urgent/emergency only with the exception of cancer clinics, chemotherapy, dialysis, infusion and fractures.

Patients will be notified to cancel or reschedule their procedures.

Diagnostic Imaging

Routine breast screening is canceled for patients who are generally healthy and whose condition is deemed as non-life threatening. Impacted individuals will be notified by Bluewater Health’s Diagnostic Imaging department to cancel or reschedule appointments.

This approach may extend to other diagnostic procedures in the future; Bluewater Health will continue to assess the pandemic situation and comply with Ontario Health guidelines.

“While we can not predict how long our current strategy will need to be in place, we will continue to coordinate with our medical colleagues to minimize backlog,” continued Haddad.

Volunteer Services Temporarily Halted

While volunteers perform critical roles in the hospital, Bluewater Health is limiting their exposure to potential transmission of COVID-19 and instead deploying staff from other areas to fulfill the most urgent tasks.

Visitor Access

No visitors are permitted in the Sarnia or Petrolia hospitals.

Exceptions include 1 consistent visitor for the following patients: labouring mothers, children, those in Palliative Care, Intensive Care, or those requiring accessibility accommodations. All visitors must be over the age of 18, designated as a patient/visitor in one of the units named above, are required to check-in at the nurses’ station and must be non-symptomatic.

Entrance Reduction

Public entrances will be limited to the main doors in Sarnia, and emergency departments in Petrolia and Sarnia.

Only patients attending for dialysis and oncology appointments can continue to use the entrance from the underground parking in Sarnia.

Enhanced Screening

Each entrance will have enhanced screening of all individuals entering. Staff will enquire about:

  • Recent travel history / recent contact with potentially exposed persons
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

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