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The Winter Peak Season

Each year, beginning in late fall or early winter, CHEO sees an increase in the number of patients admitted to hospital with respiratory viruses. Beginning December 19, 2016 CHEO will be implementing Peak Season Precautions. It is anticipated that these precautions will be in place until March 31, 2017 to protect patients along with their families and our staff.

Temporary visitation restrictions

CHEO’s enhanced, temporary visitation restrictions will include:

  • Anyone with a runny nose, cough, fever, vomiting or diarrhea is asked not to visit
  • No children under the age of 14 may visit
  • Families should limit who accompanies patients to its Emergency Department and outpatient clinics. No more than two people may accompany the patient. Please note that an Emergency Department is no place for healthy children during viral season. 
  • No patients should visit the Ronald MacDonald Family Lounge on the 5th floor
  • Screening tables with be set up and staffed by volunteers to screen visitors entering 4E/W, 4N and 5E. All visitors to these units will be screened and asked to wear a screening sticker to show that they’ve been screened. Persons presenting with symptoms of a viral infection (fever, cough, runny nose, diarrhea, vomiting) will be asked not to enter the unit.
  • New this year -- Parents, staff and physicians will not be screened by the screeners, but instead are require to self-screen and not enter the unit if they have symptoms of infection

Please note that these restrictions are in addition to those guided by routine policy and procedure. As a reminder, these include:

  • Only 2 visitors may visit at one time. (Only 2 parents/caregivers if the patient is in isolation)
  • Only 2 parents/caregivers may accompany patients to either the Emergency Department or Ambulatory Care Clinics
  • Wash your hands when you arrive and leave the hospital and the patient’s room
  • The hospitals are now stepping up their infection prevention and control practices, such as cleaning, to help reduce the possible spread of infection. These extra measures will help our patients stay safe and get better, keep infection rates low, and are part of our on-going commitment to quality improvement.

Viral infections are spread by:

  • Direct contact with an infected person,
  • Indirect contact such as touching a contaminated surface, and/or 
  • Exposure to an infected person who may be coughing or sneezing.

Here are some simple additional things you can do to prevent illness or injury and help you stay out of the hospital this holiday season:

  • Make sure that everyone in your family has enough of their medications - both prescription and non-prescription – before your family physician closes for the holidays
  • Check out inhalers, respirators, oxygen, and glucose testing machines. 
  • Sand or salt your driveway and walkways.
  • Get the flu shot

Every year we see people admitted to hospital – even to the ICU – suffering from influenza or its complications, like pneumonia. For most of these patients, their illness could have been avoided by getting the flu shot.

Everyone has a role to play. Together, we can manage and minimize the spread of respiratory viruses across CHEO and keep our patients and everyone around them safe. 

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