CORNWALL, Ontario – The Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) has placed 10 staff members on unpaid leave for failing to comply with the hospital’s COVID-19 vaccination policy.
On Aug. 17 Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s Medical Officer of Health directed all hospitals to implement vaccination policies for their staff members. The CCH’s policy that was released on Aug. 27 required that all staff members get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 7, with Oct. 15 being the deadline for their second dose.
Employees who had not received their vaccinations before the Oct. 15 deadline were required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
“From the onset of the pandemic, we made a commitment to our staff, physicians, and community to do everything we can to ensure their safety. To do so we have taken guidance from trusted public health authorities and have received clear direction that vaccination is one of the most effective ways to control the transmission of COVID-19 and to reduce the severity of the illness,” said CCH President and CEO Jeanette Despatie.
The CCH expects that a total of 33 staff members will be placed on unpaid leave after the Oct. 15 deadline. This represents just 2.8 per cent of the CCH’s total 1,151 compliment of employees. In a statement to Seaway News the CCH said that those staff members on unpaid leave could face a loss of employment.
On Wednesday, Oct. 13, the CCH announced that it would be scaling back on providing non-urgent surgeries. Despatie said that the number of staff members on unpaid leave due to violating the vaccination policy did not factor into the decision to scale back on surgeries.
“With only 10 staff members currently on unpaid leave, yesterday’s announcement that CCH is rolling back non-urgent scheduled surgeries is not due to the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy and related staffing shortages,” said Despatie. “With a nearly 98 per cent compliance rate, there will be no staffing related disruptions to patient care and healthcare services. Contingency plans were developed weeks in advance of the policy deadline allowing us to very much accommodate all gaps in our scheduling.”
Of the physicians that the CCH has on staff, 100 per cent are fully vaccinated.