Visitor restrictions in place, longer wait times expected at Bluewater Health

Flu season has increased demand at local hospitals

(Lambton Shield File Photo)

Flu season is in full swing in Sarnia-Lambton and Bluewater Health has implemented visitor restriction at its Sarnia hospital in an attempt to decrease the chances of others becoming ill.

Until further notice, visiting hours are now from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. each day and patients will be limited to one visitor at a time in the Medicine A unit, and two at a time in the rest of the hospital.

All visitors are asked to stay home if they are feeling ill themselves or had nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or respiratory symptoms within the last 48 hours, according to a Bluewater Health press release.

“We’ve taken these steps to ensure the health and safety of everyone in Sarnia-Lambton,” said Shannon Landry, chief nursing executive with Bluewater Health.

The hospital is also seeing longer than usual wait times in its Emergency Departments and higher numbers of admitted patients due to an increase in season illness.

Bluewater Health spokesperson Julia Oosterman said January is a busy time at the hospital and this year it is particularly busy.

“We’re over-capacity right now,” said Oosterman. “Certainly if people have emergencies and they need to come to the hospital this is the right place for them and we will absolutely see them. However, for non-urgent issues, people need to be considering their family practitioner or their family doctor or their nurse practitioner.”

“We need to have people in the hospital who are the sickest and we need to make sure we have the capacity for them,” she said, adding that multiple units at the hospital are full or more than full.

Members of the public should continue to visit Bluewater Health for scheduled tests and procedures and canceling or delaying tests or procedures may put a patient at much more risk than coming into Bluewater Health when infection control measures are in place.

Bluewater Health reminds hospital visitors that using hand sanitizer when entering and leaving the hospital assists efforts to prevent the spread of infections.

Oosterman said patience and kindness helps everyone when the hospital is full.

“We are doing out best to serve everyone in the quickest time possible,” she said.

The situation is being monitored by the hospital’s Infection Control Committee.

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