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Research / COVID-19




COVID-19 Research Updates

This page will provide updates pertinent to Research at St. Joe's. See the links below for additional information:


Information for Researchers

Effective Monday, June 13, we have moved beyond our Research Activities Roadmap phased approach that has guided our pandemic response.

See below for the latest updates.


June 2022 Update: Masking Continues, Other COVID-19 Restrictions Lifting

Last Updated June 13, 2022


We are pleased to announce that effective Monday, June 13, we are moving beyond our Research Activities Roadmap phased approach that has guided our pandemic response. This means there are no longer any research-specific restrictions in effect. However, masking is still required for everyone entering St. Joe’s facilities.

The Hospital has released a detailed notice regarding recent changes to COVID-19 infection prevention and control practices. An overview of these changes is provided below.


Masks are still required inside the Hospital after June 11

St. Joe's will continue with a universal masking policy beyond the provincial deadline of June 11, 2022. We are awaiting updated guidance around masking from the Ministry of Health. Until then, St. Joe's will continue following the internal IPAC policy on masking in all areas inside the hospital. However, masks will no longer be required outdoors on hospital property. Once we receive and review the guidance, we will determine the appropriate next steps and communicate publicly. Everyone entering the hospital must wear a mask. 


St. Joe’s infection prevention and control restrictions lifting June 15

St. Joe’s is lifting a series COVID-19 restrictions effective Wednesday, June 15th to reflect the current low-risk period. This is in alignment with hospitals across the region. We will continue to follow subject matter expert guidance, wear personal protective equipment, and act quickly to ensure healthcare worker and patient safety. 

The following changes will take effect on Wednesday, June 15:

1. Transition to passive screening for patients, visitors, family, and caregivers

We are moving from active screening to passive screening. Everyone will be asked to conduct a health self-assessment before coming to the hospital. Staff are no longer required to complete the Active Screening app ( upon arrival each workday.

2. Lift restrictions on inpatient and external visitor guidelines

Registration and approval of all research-only visitors (study sponsors, monitors, research-only participants, healthy volunteers) is no longer required. Research teams should continue to set up visits ahead of time and communicate any expected increases in visitors to affected departments/units.

3. Remove requirement of patient off-unit pass COVID-19 letter

4. Reduce requirements for universal PCR testing

5. Lift restrictions on gatherings inside the Hospital

Indoor team gatherings: Sharing open food is now allowed with teams. Please ensure only one person is serving food. If teams are gathering and eating, everyone is still required to maintain physical distancing requirements while eating.

Increasing in-person gatherings: Where appropriate and applicable, Joe’s encourages teams to organize in-person meetings (with a Zoom option, if needed) to help build culture and a sense of community. However, in-person meetings are not mandatory; researchers may opt to use the most efficient meeting format. Masking requirements remain in place for indoor, in-person meetings.


HiREB Protocol Amendments

During the current COVID-19 pandemic situation researchers need to consider their in-person interactions with participants/patients. You are reminded to follow your institutional/public health policies for participant/patient management.

Should your current protocol or study design require revision to now include alternate forms of interaction with participants/patients (whether consent or study visits), you will still need to submit an amendment to the HiREB. If you need to implement changes to eliminate immediate hazards for staff or participants, then such a change would be reported to us as a protocol deviation.

Please note the HiREB will process these amendments as priority.



Information for Research Participants

Last updated April 1, 2022

When will clinical research appointments recommence at St. Joe's?

As of April 4, 2022, we have returned to Phase 3 of our Research Activities Roadmap.

  • Under Phase 3, on-site research-only visits are permitted.
  • If you are coming to the Hospital for a research-only visit, you will be required to show a confirmation letter to the screeners. If you are coming in for a clinical visit, this does not apply.
    • This letter will be provided to you in advance by a research coordinator.
  • Participant safety is a top priority for us. Your study team is carefully considering which visits are needed in-person, and which may be done over the phone or through other means.
  • If your study team schedules a new appointment, please click here for more information about coming to the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • If you have a research visit scheduled and have a new or worsening cough, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath (worse than normal), or runny nose, please call your study team to see if you should still come to the hospital for your research visit.
  • St. Joe’s has limited entrances to our sites and is conducting COVID-19 screening of all patients, research participants, staff, and physicians. A list of entrances and more information on the screening process is available here
  • We are asking that you do not arrive more than 15 minutes early before your appointment to limit the number of people in the hospital.
Is it safe to come to the hospital?
  • Please know that our hospital is safe to visit and some of the changes you will see are measures to keep our patients and staff safe. Click here to learn more before coming to your appointment.
  • When visiting the hospital for a research or clinical appointment, please remember to:
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer, including when you enter and leave a clinical area.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially while in public.
    • Whenever possible, maintain a distance of 2 meters (6 feet) from others.
    • Wear a mask throughout the hospital. You will be provided with a mask at the available entrances.
If the situation changes, will I be notified?
  • As the risk level changes, clinical research appointments may be affected.
    • Your study team will contact you to discuss future appointments and your ongoing participation in research.
  • If you have any questions about coming to the hospital, please contact your study team.
Do I have to come for my research visit? What if I don't want to?
  • Your participation in a research study is always voluntary and you are not required to keep an appointment. However, there may be safety-related concerns with missed study treatments or visits.
  • Speak with your study team if you have any concerns about your appointment, or if you don’t feel comfortable coming to the hospital.
How can I reduce the risk to myself and others from the virus?
  • Get vaccinated, including any eligible booster shots. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine and to book an appointment for the vaccine, please visit the Hamilton Public Health Services website at
  • Stay at home if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, including new or worsening cough, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath (worse than normal), or runny nose.
  • Visit the Ontario COVID-19 website for more information on how to stop the spread of the virus and minimize your risk.
Where can I find the latest information from St. Joe’s?
  • All COVID-19 updates will be posted regularly to
  • Research-related updates are posted on this webpage.