Respiratory illnesses increase use of masks at Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington


Published December 20, 2023 at 6:29 pm

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If you are in an area where patients are being treated at Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) you must wear a mask.

That’s the word from hospital officials who have given the directive to combat an increase in respiratory illnesses.

“The transmission of respiratory viruses continues to increase in the community, resulting in further strain on hospital systems. To protect everyone’s health and safety, all patients & visitors at JBH are required to wear masks in patient care areas,” reads a notice shared by the hospital on social media today (Dec. 20).

The hospital says the step is necessary to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.

Under the current guidelines, everyone in the hospital is required to wear a mask in all areas where patients may be, including outpatient clinics and waiting areas.

Further, masks are strongly recommended in non-patient care areas such as hallways outside clinical areas, administrative offices, Tim Hortons and the cafeteria.

JBH also indicates other rules are also in place including:

  • The self-screening of all patients and visitors entering the hospital
  • That patients with any respiratory illness symptoms must wear a mask at all times
  • And that visitors with any symptoms not enter the hospital

The procedures have been in place since the hospital announced that it is at patient capacity.

“There are many factors that can impact hospital capacity, including surges of illness and the number of patients who no longer require acute care but are not able to be discharged to a more suitable care setting and therefore remain in hospital,” a spokesperson for the hospital recently informed 

Maria Babbage, director of corporate communications at JBH, said that much like other healthcare facilities throughout the province, Joseph Brant is seeing higher than normal emergency department use – something she says is consistent with historic trends noted during the winter months when respiratory viruses such as influenza and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) spread more easily. 

Influenza and RSV surges are now accompanied by increased transmission of COVID-19. 

“We are closely monitoring public health guidance and the transmission of respiratory viruses in our community,” a statement from the hospital reads. “We will continue to adjust our policies and procedures as needed to protect the health and safety of everyone who comes to and works in the hospital.”

After loosening masking guidelines earlier this year following the pandemic, the hospital has since been adjusting its policies based on the increasing number of patients with respiratory illnesses.



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