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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:

 

March 17, 2021: Vaccination Process Update for Researchers and Healthcare Workers

What’s new

The vaccine appointment booking system is changing for healthcare workers (HCW) who have not yet been scheduled for a first dose, including those from the city’s two hospital systems. Hospital HCW not yet scheduled to be vaccinated will now have to re-enter their information, including their health card number (HCN) into the vaccine sign up tool. If this step is completed, HCWs will be emailed a link and instructions in the coming weeks, to book a vaccine appointment into the new provincial booking tool.
 
 

Who this applies to:

This requirement applies to every HCW who has registered for vaccination on the SJHH/HHS online tool and is not yet scheduled for their first dose.
 
 

What hospital HCW need to do:

Anyone in a category described above, MUST:
  • Go to stjoes.ca/HCWCovidVaccine, and re-enter their registration, now including their HCN.
  • Please do this as soon as possible
 

What this means for HCW:

  • A text message will be sent by the SJHH/HHS online registration system/vaccination clinic, confirming this process and reminding HCW still waiting for their first dose, to register again.
  • Once you have added your HCN, you will have to remain vigilant and look for an email/message from the provincial system in the coming weeks.
  • It is critical to this process that valid email addresses are entered as this is how you will receive information about self-scheduling through the provincial system.
  • Once you receive that message, you will be able to log in and book your own appointment.
  • Hospital HCW will continue to be scheduled and receive vaccinations, according to the sequencing determine by the province.
 
Please note: If you have not yet registered for vaccine, please do so here stjoes.ca/HCWCovidVaccine.
Jan. 6, 2021: Vaccination Scheduling for Research Personnel

The COVID-19 Email Update sent on January 6, 2021 by St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton covered “Expanding COVID-19 vaccine among hospital healthcare workers.” This is to clarify that message for RSJH employees, and other RSJH personnel, including Research Visitors.

The categories are the same for RSJH personnel.

Your category is determined by where you are working and your associated exposure risk.

For your ease of reference, the relevant section of the email update is below, including the links to sign up for the vaccination schedule.

 

Vaccination planning for hospital healthcare workers

The plan is to significantly increase the number of vaccines given to hospital healthcare workers, while continuing to provide vaccines to LTC and RH staff. HHS and SJHH are together working to schedule our staff, physicians, residents and learners for vaccinations beginning January 7.

The government’s goal is to have all hospital healthcare workers (staff, physicians and residents/learners) vaccinated by the end of March. The plan being rolled out by HHS and SJHH will accomplish this based on anticipated vaccine supplies.

Hospital healthcare workers will receive the vaccine based on the government’s ethical and prioritization frameworks, in this order:

  • Group 1: those at highest risk of COVID exposure at work 
  • Group 2: those working with vulnerable patients at high risk
  • Group 3: those working in all other clinical areas (patient facing)
  • Group 4: all other hospital workers.

 

What you need to do

Here’s what you need to do:  

  • We are asking every hospital healthcare worker to sign up for the vaccine
  • You can sign up online now.
  • You will be asked about which of the four groups you fit into. Find out more here.
  • The four groups will be done in order. As more vaccines are made available, more people will be vaccinated.
  • Healthcare workers from each group will be placed into a randomized selection process (lottery) to determine who will get the vaccine each day. 
  • You will be contacted for scheduling when your name is selected.

 

It’s important to note that everyone who wants to get the vaccine will get it.

Dec 23: Research at St. Joe's Returns to Stage 2

December 23, 2020

As the pandemic continues, the health and safety of all members of our community is the most important factor, and the primary function of our site is to deliver health care. Research activities on hospital sites requires the collaboration and coordination of multiple stakeholders. We thank you for your continued patience in these extraordinary times as we work with the University, the Hospital, and the province to allow some research to continue at St. Joe’s as our area moves back into lockdown.

The Hospital continues to provide regular COVID-19 updates, which can be found at https://www.stjoes.ca/coronavirus. For researchers who conduct work at St. Joe’s, but only have access to McMaster (or HHS) email, you can Opt-In using this form to receive SJHH COVID-19 email updates, including Virtual Town Hall invitations and updates from SJHH leadership. (Link leads to https://research.stjoes.ca/mailings)

As anticipated, the surge in COVID-19 cases has moved our region back into Lockdown and therefore research at St. Joe’s must scale back to Stage 2 levels.

Overview
SJHH has taken a phased approach to provision of clinical services on its campuses. This phased approach allows services to be offered while maintaining adequate infection control measures in alignment with policies and public health guidelines.

Approach
RSJH is committed to providing patients with the opportunity to participate in research projects while ensuring their safety by minimizing their risk of being on site. As an affected entity on the SJHH footprint, The Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton (RSJH) provides input on how to align with the policies and guidelines while maintaining research activity at our site. 

Stage 2 – Commencing 23 December 2020

  • Clinical research activities will be permitted only in clinical departments that have been authorized by SJHH to provide clinical services
  • Research activities in these clinical departments will only be allowed for research participants who are concurrently on site for clinical purposes (i.e. not for “research-only” visits)
  • Research activities that involve separate clinical AND research visits MUST have the approval of the affected clinical departments
  • Involvement of In-Person Human Participants is permitted where the above criteria are met
  • Research activities are not to disrupt or increase burden on the associated clinical department
  • Training of research personnel is limited to only that which maintains physical distancing of greater than 2m
  • Non-essential research personnel may not be on site
  • All COVID-19 research may continue
  • Work already underway in the CAF may continue, but no new work should be started.
  • Consultation with external research partners (e.g. study monitors) is no longer permitted on site and should be conducted virtually.
  • NOTE: Contractors involved in the repair and maintenance of research equipment are permitted on campus.
  • It remains the case that: All work that can be conducted off-site, must continue to be conducted off-site. (i.e. no “office time”).

Implications and Considerations

  • It is vital that all research activity, research personnel, including Principal Investigators, should consult with all impacted clinical departments to ensure that the planned research activities:
    1. will not disrupt clinical operations
    2. will be able to incorporate any physical or procedural changes implemented by the clinical department, and,
    3. will not decrease the levels of PPE supply

We recognize that research is one of many competing priorities on our sites, and we continue to address the challenges of ensuring a safe and equitable return for all. Please remember that all updates are made available on this webpage as they become available.

Thank you once again for everything you do at St. Joe’s to bring the best of care and the most innovative research to our patients and participants. We are all learning in these rapidly changing times and we appreciate your ongoing efforts to ensure the health and safety of all members of our community.

Dec. 9: New Guidance Regarding N95 and Eye Protection Usage

Current Situation:

Currently, our healthcare workers have been directed to use the Point of Care Risk Assessment (PCRA) to determine the appropriate level of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required.
 
Over the last few months, both hospital guidance and the PCRA directed healthcare workers to wear a surgical mask along with eye protection for Aerosol Generating Medical Procedures (AGMP) for negative COVID-19 cases. This decision was based on the fact that we were in a low prevalence period and with the expectation that symptom screening would help identify potential COVID-19 positive cases.
 
The situation has since changed. We have increasing community prevalence and the rates continue to rise. This poses a concern in regards to asymptomatic cases that may pass screening.
 
As such, to keep out healthcare workers safe, we are issuing revised guidelines for PPE usage below.
 
 

Revised Guidelines:

Effective December 9, 2020 the following are required for N95 Respirators and Eye Protection.
 
  1. N95 Usage
    • All AGMP where COVID-19 has not been ruled out, will require an N95 respirator
    • A surgical mask may only be used in an AGMP if all the following criteria are met:
      • The patient is confirmed COVID negative, AND
      • The patient has had no known exposure to a COVID-19 positive case, AND
      • The patient is asymptomatic (or the symptoms are attributed to another cause).
  2. Eye Protection is required
    1. In any clinic where the healthcare worker is providing care within 6 feet of a patient who has removed or is unable to wear their mask.
    2. For community care providers (e.g. COAST) where the members in the home or LTC may not all be masked. 
 
Please huddle with your teams to make them aware of this upcoming change.
Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) Program Overview and Objectives

Last Updated December 4, 2020

Click here to download the CRCEF Stage 3 Application Form

As part of its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the Government of Canada recently introduced the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) program. The objectives of the program are to:

  • provide wage support to universities and health research institutions to help them retain research-related personnel during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • support extraordinary incremental costs associated with maintaining essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then ramping-up to full research activities as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume.

The CRCEF program includes four funding stages:

  • Stages 1 and 2
  • Stage 3
  • Stage 4

 

Stages 1 and 2

Stages 1 and 2 provide wage support for research personnel (i.e. undergraduate or graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and other personnel associated with research projects) who are, or were:

  • employed by universities or health research institutions for some period of time between March 15 and August 29, 2020;
  • working for faculty members conducting research, or in scientific and engineering facilities/laboratories supporting broad research objectives;
  • unable to do all or some of the work for which they were hired as a consequence COVID-19;
  • paid in part or in whole from eligible non-governmental sources, or were supposed to be paid from eligible non-governmental sources but were paid less than planned or laid off as a result of COVID-19; and
  • not claiming other wage support (e.g. Canada Emergency Response Benefit [CERB]).

Eligible expenses

Stage 1 and Stage 2 funding can be used for:

  • eligible expenses for wage support incurred between March 15, 2020 and August 29, 2020;
  • up to 75% of the portion of research personnel’s salaries/wages normally supported by non-governmental sources, to a maximum of $847 per week for up to 12 weeks of salary support (consecutive or broken up over the eligibility period) per individual;
  • personnel who have been laid off or furloughed as a result of COVID-19 within the eligibility period, as long as they are rehired and their retroactive pay and status meet the eligibility criteria for the claim period. Should the funds be used to retroactively pay personnel who were laid off, those personnel will be required to attest in writing that they did not receive wage support from other sources (e.g. the Canada Emergency Response Benefit [CERB]) during the lay off period.

Application process

Based on the information obtained from institutional systems data, it was determined that the available Stage 1 funds would be sufficient to meet the identified wage support needs. Consequently, Research St. Joe’s Hamilton did not apply for Stage 2 funding.

 

Stage 3

Stage 3 of the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) provides support for direct costs of research that have been incurred to:

  • maintain essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic; and/or
  • support ramping-up to full research activities as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume.

Eligible expenses

Stage 3 funds can be used to reimburse up to 75% direct costs of research that are:

  • specific to a research project;
  • extraordinary and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds (governmental or non-governmental). Extraordinary incremental costs are defined as unanticipated additional costs that would not normally have been incurred in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic and cannot be funded by existing sources of funds; and
  • incurred between March 15 and November 15, 2020 (with the exception of personnel costs associated with research maintenance and/or ramp-up activities which must be incurred between August 30 and November 15, 2020).

Application Process 

To access the Stage 3 funds the Research Institute must demonstrate that:

  • Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton researchers have incurred, or will incur, research maintenance and/or ramp-up costs that align with the program eligibility criteria noted above; and
  • Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton researchers are in need of support to cover those costs.

If you have incurred costs that align with the program eligibility criteria and you would like those costs to be considered for Stage 3 support, please:

  1. Complete the Research Institute’s internal application form
  2. save a copy of the completed application form with your full name in the file name; and
  3. Email the completed application form by noon, Friday, December 11, 2020 to Shawn Billington sbilling@stjoes.ca

Completion of the application form does not guarantee that funds to reimburse all eligible costs will be available. The availability of funding will depend on the amount of Stage 3 CRCEF funding the Research Institute is able to access and the level of need identified by Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton researchers.

Should the eligible incurred costs identified by Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton researchers exceed the amount of Stage 3 funding awarded to the Research Institute, the following priorities will guide allocation of the available funds:

  • researchers who self-identify as a member of an historically underserved, marginalized or excluded group
  • researchers who are engaged in research projects that involve marginalized and/or equity-seeking participants, communities, or partners
  • early career researchers who have held an independent academic position for five years or less as of July 1, 2020
  • researchers whose grant or contract funding has been decreased or cancelled by the sponsor as a consequence of COVID-19
  • costs incurred by shared research platforms, facilities, centres or institutes
  • research projects that have incurred eligible costs in excess of $1,500

Applications that fall outside of these priority areas will receive an equal proportion of any remaining funds.

 

Stage 4

Like Stages 1 and 2, Stage 4 of the CRCEF program provides wage support for research personnel (i.e. undergraduate or graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and other personnel associated with research projects) who are, or were:

  • employed by universities or health research institutions for some period of time between March 15 and August 29, 2020;
  • working for faculty members conducting research, or in scientific and engineering facilities/laboratories supporting broad research objectives;
  • unable to do all or some of the work for which they were hired as a consequence COVID-19;
  • paid in part or in whole from eligible non-governmental sources (e.g. industry contracts, grants from not-for-profit organizations, donations, user fees, etc.), or were supposed to be paid from eligible non-governmental sources but were paid less than planned or laid off as a result of COVID-19; and
  • not claiming other wage support (e.g. Canada Emergency Response Benefit [CERB]).

Eligible expenses

Stage 4 funding can be used for:

  • eligible expenses for wage support incurred between March 15, 2020 and August 29, 2020;
  • up to 75% of the portion of research personnel’s salaries/wages normally supported by non-governmental sources, to a maximum of $847 per week for up to 24 weeks of salary support (consecutive or broken up over the eligibility period) per individual. Researchers who receive Stage 1 support for research personnel costs are eligible for an additional 12 weeks of salary support from Stage 4;
  • personnel who have been laid off or furloughed as a result of COVID-19 within the eligibility period, as long as they are rehired and their retroactive pay and status meet the eligibility criteria for the claim period. Should the funds be used to retroactively pay personnel who were laid off, those personnel will be required to attest in writing that they did not receive wage support from other sources (e.g. the Canada Emergency Response Benefit [CERB]) during the lay off period.

Application process

So that we can ascertain the level of eligibility and need for Stage 4 funding at the Research Institute, Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton researchers who 1) have research accounts which hold eligible non-governmental funds, and 2) have incurred research personnel costs during the eligibility period

Researchers applicable for Stage 1 funding will be applied to Stage 4 funding for which they are eligible based on the information available during the Stage 1 application period.

Please note, there is no guarantee that funds to reimburse all eligible costs will be available.

 

Distribution of CRCEF funding to affiliated health research institutions

To access CRCEF funding McMaster must submit an application to each stage of the program demonstrating need for the requested funding. The applications are submitted by McMaster on behalf of the University and its affiliated health research institutions – Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation (HHSC) and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH).

The CRCEF program awarded Stage 1 funding to universities and their affiliated health research institutions on the basis of a formula that was applied to each institution’s annual average over three years (2015-16 to 2017-18) of the total of research income from all non-governmental sources as indicated in the Financial Information of Universities and Colleges (FIUC) – CAUBO

The Stage 1 funds awarded to McMaster University and affiliated health research institutions, HHSC and SJHH, were allocated among the three institutions in accordance with the share of the awarded funds earned by each institution. The share of allocation earned was determined by each institution’s share of the average over three years (2015-16 to 2017-18) of the total of research income from all non-governmental sources outlined in the CAUBO research income report.

Like Stage 1, CRCEF Stages 2 and 4 provide wage support for research personnel. Universities and health research institutions that were not eligible for Stage 1 funding were eligible to apply for Stage 2 funding. Universities and health research institutions that were eligible for Stage 1 funding were also eligible to apply for Stage 2 funding but only if their eligible wage support needs exceed their Stage 1 allocations. Stage 4

Based on an assessment of the data available from their institutional systems and information obtained directly from researchers, McMaster, HHSC and SJHH determined that the awarded CRCEF Stage 1 funds were sufficient to address the need for eligible wage support at their respective institutions.

On behalf of the University and affiliated health research institutions, McMaster intends to apply for Stage 3 funding to support incurred costs associated with maintenance and ramp-up of research activities and Stage 4 funding to provide additional support for incurred costs associated with research personnel paid from eligible non-governmental sources.

To access Stage 3 support, institutions must demonstrate need for the funds based on actual costs incurred between March 15 and November 15, 2020. The CRCEF program will establish a maximum amount of Stage 3 funding for which each institution can apply. The maximum amount will be based on a formula that will be applied to each institution’s annual average over three years (2015-16 to 2017-18) of the total of research income from all sources as indicated in the Financial Information of Universities and Colleges (FIUC) – CAUBO.

If an institution demonstrates need for Stage 3 support in excess of the maximum amount for which they are eligible to apply, and additional funds are available, then the institution may request additional support.

To access Stage 4 support, institutions must demonstrate need for the funds based on actual research personnel costs incurred between March 15 and August 29, 2020. There is no maximum amount for which institutions can apply. However, the total funding available for all institutions is $84M. Therefore, there is no minimum amount to which institutions are guaranteed, even if they are able to demonstrate need.

 

Strategy for equity, diversity and inclusion decision-making

Decisions regarding the allocation of CRCEF funds within St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton will be made by the Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton – Scientific Review Committee (SRC) and is Chaired by the SJHH Vice-President of Research This interdisciplinary body will include representation from historically under-represented groups, and all members will receive training in unconscious bias.

The SRC is committed to managing the CRCEF funds in a manner that aligns with the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion. The decisions made by this body regarding allocation of CRCEF funds awarded to St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton are consistent with the objectives outlined in the McMaster University’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy: Towards Inclusive Excellence. McMaster’s EDI Strategy reflects the University’s commitment to building a diverse and inclusive community, where the rights of all individuals and groups are protected and all members feel safe, valued, empowered and respected for their contributions to the shared purposes of the University: research and education excellence. Specifically, McMaster’s EDI Strategy aims to help the Hospital and Research Institute to exemplify inclusive excellence by enhancing:

  • The Hospital and Research communities understanding of inclusive excellence as an institutional imperative and improving campus-wide EDI efficacy;
  • systems and resources to support data-informed and evidence-based EDI-related planning, decision-making and practice;
  • inclusivity and opportunities for interdisciplinarity in curricula and scholarship across Departments and Faculties;
  • inclusive leadership capabilities by establishing baseline EDI training requirements and offering ongoing professional development;
  • opportunities for meaningful consultation with, engagement of, and provision of support to equity-seeking groups; and
  • the recruitment and retention of equity-seeking employees and students.

In accordance with McMaster’s EDI Strategy, to minimize the impact of implicit biases and systemic barriers, while acknowledging inequities that contribute to differing experiences of COVID-19, the following principles will guide the Hospital’s and Research Institute’s management of the CRCEF funds:

  • All researchers, regardless of discipline, area of focus, or way of knowing, will have the opportunity and be encouraged to identify costs that are eligible for CRCEF support;
  • All eligible requests for CRCEF Stage 1 and Stage 4 support will receive the same consideration, regardless of research discipline, area of focus, or way of knowing;
  • The following priorities will guide the allocation of available CRCEF Stage 3 funding:
    • researchers who self-identify as a member of an historically underserved, marginalized or excluded group
    • researchers who are engaged in research projects that involve marginalized and/or equity-seeking participants, communities, or partners
    • early career researchers who have held an independent academic position for five years or less as of July 1, 2020
    • researchers whose grant or contract funding has been decreased or cancelled by the sponsor as a consequence of COVID-19
    • costs incurred by shared research platforms, facilities, centres or institutes
    • research projects that have incurred eligible costs in excess of $1,500; and
  • The process whereby costs eligible for CRCEF funding are identified will be simple, flexible, and account for the fact that the circumstances of some researchers (such as other demands and/or commitments, health concerns or technological limitations) may impact their ability to participate directly in the process.

 

Contact information

The following Research Institute representative is responsible for ensuring the CRCEF program’s requirements are satisfied, and can be contacted should there be any questions or concerns regarding management of CRCEF funds at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton:

Gail Martin, PhD
Executive Director, The Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton
gmartin@stjoes.ca

 

July 20: Returning to Research at St. Joe's

July 20, 2020

UPDATE: Stages 3 and 4 - Return to Research at Research St. Joseph’s Hamilton (RSJH)

We continue to navigate a return to research activity on St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) sites amid the COVID-19 constraints. The following has been coordinated with, and approved by, the SJHH senior leadership. We are grateful for their continued support of research activities at St. Joe’s. At this time, we can provide you with the following updates. The Stage 3 updates will take effect on July 22, 2020.

Overview
SJHH has taken a phased approach to reintroducing clinical services on its campuses. This phased approach aims to gradually increase services offered while maintaining adequate infection control measures in alignment with policies and public health guidelines. As an affected entity on the SJHH footprint, The Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton (RSJH) has been asked to provide input on how to align with the policies and guidelines while re-introducing research activity at our site.

Approach
RSJH is committed to providing patients with the opportunity to participate in research projects while ensuring their safety by minimizing their risk of being on site. RSJH remains in lock-step with SJHH directives on re-implementing services, which are currently in the second stage. RSJH will continue to gradually expand its services based on SJHH directives and will be following the same staged approach, described below: 

Stage 3 – Commencing July 22

  • Research activities will be permitted to resume only in clinical departments that have been authorized by SJHH to provide clinical services
  • Research activities in these clinical departments will only be allowed for research participants who are on site for clinical purposes (i.e. no “research-exclusive” visits)
  • Research activities are not to disrupt or increase burden on the affected clinical department
  • Research personnel may be on site
  • It remains the case that: All work that can be conducted off-site, must continue to be conducted off-site.

 
Stage 4 – Timing to be determined – Updates will be provided when they are available.

  • Full reintroduction of research services will be contingent upon full resumption of clinical services within the department(s) in which the research activity is taking place
  • “Research-exclusive” visits will be permitted to resume
  • It will remain the case that all work that can be conducted off-site, must continue to be conducted off-site.

Implications and Considerations

  • For each stage of expansion of research activity, research personnel, including Principal Investigators, should consult with all impacted clinical departments to ensure that the planned research activities:
    1. will not disrupt clinical operations
    2. will be able to incorporate any physical or procedural changes implemented by the clinical department, and,
    3. will not decrease the levels of PPE supply
  • Research staff will not be permitted on site for any activities outside of meeting with the participants (i.e. no “office time” other than what is required).
  • All work that can be conducted off-site, must continue to be conducted off-site.

 

Research Administration may periodically monitor activity and related offices to ensure compliance with these directives and guidelines, including COVID-19 activity guidelines.

We recognize that all researchers are keen to get back to work and we continue to advocate for as full a return to research as can be safely achieved and maintained. We recognize that research is one of many competing priorities on our sites, and we continue to address the challenges of ensuring a safe and equitable return for all. Please remember that all updates are made available on this webpage as they become available.

Information for Research Participants

Last Updated June 24, 2020

The Research Institute is working with our clinical partners at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton to ensure the safety of our research participants, research staff, and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of June 24, the Hospital has updated its Visitor Restrictions. Please see below for more information related to research participation.

 

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

  • At this time, clinical research appointments remain on hold.
    • Only research activities involving patients who are already in the hospital or are coming into the hospital for a scheduled clinical visit may resume, provided specific criteria are met (see “June 8: Returning to Research” below for details).
  • We are determining the safest way for study teams to recommence clinical research projects and schedule new appointments.
  • 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. Click here to learn more before coming to your appointment. When clinical research appointments are reintroduced, 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, we will gradually begin to reintroduce clinical research appointments.
  • 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?

  • The Government of Canada requires everyone who has travelled outside of Canada within the past 14 days to self-isolate at home, regardless of symptoms.
  • As of March 25, 14-day self-isolation for returning travelers is mandatory under the Quarantine Act.
  • 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?

 

June 11: Returning to Research: Laboratory Research Update

June 11, 2020

Laboratory Research Update

We continue to navigate a return to research activity on SJHH sites amid the COVID-19 constraints. THIS DOCUMENT PERTAINS ONLY TO LABORATORY RESEARCH activity on St. Joe’s sites, and has been coordinated with, and approved by, the SJHH senior leadership. We are grateful for their continued support of research activities at St. Joe’s. At this time, we can provide you with the following updates that will take effect at 12:00 noon on June 12th 2020:

 

All research laboratory activities that can meet the following criteria may now resume:

  1. All work that can be conducted off-site, must continue to be conducted off-site.
  2. A return to research at the present time is only for research that is impossible to perform in a remote manner.
  3. Principal investigators should prioritize access for graduate students and researchers completing their studies.
  4. No person will come to campus to take part in activities that include (but are not limited to) group or individual meetings, literature reviews, paper writing, grant preparations, thesis defenses, comprehensive exams, etc.
  5. While trained undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows will be permitted to work on site, “hands on” or “one-to-one” training of such individuals is not permitted.
  6. Returning to site for all individuals will require that appropriate physical distancing can be maintained at all times.
  7. Physical distancing of 2 metres applies at all times. This applies to maintaining static distance; persons may briefly pass one another at distances closer than 2 metres, or may need to ask another person if they can briefly enter the space they are occupying to access equipment, reagents, etc. Patience and understanding will be required by all to ensure maximal access and maximal safety.

For all research personnel returning to site, please refer to, and ensure you are familiar with, the safety protocols provided by St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) BEFORE coming to site, including:

×          Masks and Personal Protective Equipment

×          Screening at Entrances:  sjhhscreening.com

×          Keeping Each Other Safe (social distancing and hand washing)

All wet lab facilities at SJHH are shared rooms. The PIs for each lab room must connect as a group to enable equitable shared access to the facilities, including scheduling access to rooms and shared equipment, to ensure SJHH social distancing directives are maintained at all times:

  1. Individuals are responsible to ensure all surfaces are sanitized appropriately prior to and after completing work.
  2. Researchers must recognize that some tasks/experiments may be limited or not possible during this time due to the physical distancing requirements. Organize, plan, and collaborate accordingly.
  3. Researchers should plan work with consideration of the possibility of restrictions being increased if required. For example, experiments with a longer timeline may not be suitable to begin at the current time.
  4. For work utilizing the CAF, PIs should connect with the CAF directly on matters of access and availability.
  5. Graduate Student and Research Offices may be accessed for the purpose of storing and accessing personal belongings, and at this time the office spaces will be used for this purpose only. The regular use of offices is restricted to this purpose until further notice.
  6. Supervisors must check in at least daily with personnel entering the labs.
  7. Working alone procedures remain in place.

If your laboratory research work can meet these criteria, you DO NOT need to seek additional or specific approval from the RSJH office of Research Administration or the VP Research, SJHH. 

To those that have already submitted applications to return to research, if your research meets the above criteria, you will not receive a specific approval notice. 

Research Administration will periodically monitor activity in the laboratories and related offices to ensure compliance with these directives and guidelines, including COVID-19 activity guidelines.

We recognize that all researchers are keen to get back to work and we continue to advocate for as full a return to research as can be safely achieved and maintained. We recognize that research is one of many competing priorities on our sites and, we continue to address the challenges of ensuring a safe and equitable return for all. 

Joint Message from RSJH, HHS, and McMaster

March 17, 2020

Dear members of the McMaster research community,

The provincial declaration of emergency and other rapidly developing circumstances in the pandemic are impacting research at McMaster, and I wanted to bring you up to date on what we need to do to meet new social distancing and other measures introduced by government, and to ensure the health and safety of our community both on and off campus.

McMaster’s research is not closing down, but we do need to think about what research needs to continue at this time and how can we make sure our research staff is well-informed and know that their well-being is of the utmost importance.

After consulting with the Associate Deans of Research (ADR) and other university and hospital leaders, the university is issuing the following directives:

No research with subjects that require face-to-face contact, unless these are on-going interventional or clinical studies that impact human health.

  1. No new animal-based research; completion of current, on-going animal studies to continue with some adaptations, in consultation with the Central Animal Facility.
  2. No initiation of new research experiments that require campus access, unless they are associated with emergency COVID-19 funding or involve activities focusing on patient health and safety. Please discuss such plans with your ADR and the VPR before proceeding. Research that can be completed remotely (e.g. online) that is not impacted by social distancing policies may continue. 
  3. Researchers and groups must develop plans to close down existing research within university facilities on short notice, including plans for waste disposal and identification of essential services to maintain research samples, facilities and infrastructure where appropriate.

 

SPECIAL DIRECTIVES FOR HOSPITAL-BASED RESEARCH:

For those whose labs and facilities are physically located in hospital settings, hospitals will be restricting personnel to those deemed essential.

Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare will be screening at the entrances of all their sites. Your McMaster University identification will be required to gain entry.

As the need to ensure the health and safety of patients and hospital staff is a top priority, research within labs and facilities on hospital property will be restricted to research associated with emergency COVID-19 funding or involving activities focusing on patient health and safety, at the approval of the appropriate VPRs (McMaster University, Dr. Karen Mossman; Hamilton Health Sciences, Dr. Ted Scott; St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Dr. Jack Gauldie).

For clinical trials and patient-based research, active accrual should be interrupted until further notice and no new studies should be started.  Trials with scheduled interventions that have already begun should be allowed to continue as long as the individuals registered in the trial pass the active screening that will be in effect at our host hospitals until further notice. 

We appreciate your support during these unprecedented times. Further updates will be shared as the situation develops. FAQs will soon be posted on-line to further assist the research community.

Research-specific issues at SJHH

To: All Research Personnel, including but not limited to: RSJH Staff, SJHH Staff, Physicians, Principal Investigators; McMaster and HHS personnel located at SJHH, Students, and Research Volunteers.

Updates in this message:

  1. Active screening for all persons entering SJHH facilities
  2. Changes to learners at St. Joe's
  3. Clinical trials and other research work at SJHH sites
  4. Returning to SJHH facilities after travel

1. Effective Tuesday, March 17th, 2020, St. Joe’s will enact active screening at its entrances for all persons entering SJHH facilities.

This means:

  • Access to all SJHH buildings, at all three main campus sites, will be restricted.
  • Some entrances will be closed.
  • ALL PERSONS entering St. Joe’s three main campus sites will be screened before entering.
  • Personnel will be screened through a streamlined process. You must have your ID badge in this process as you enter the building.

All personnel: Please use one of the following entrances and bring your ID badge:

 

Charlton from 6 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.

  • Roof Deck (outside of Cafeteria)
  • Luke Entrance to the south of Emergency Entrance door

Charlton from 11:30 p.m. – 6 a.m.

  • Emergency entrance

West 5th

  • Main entrance (West 5th Street) Level 1
  • Outpatient entrance (Fennel Avenue) Level 0

King

  • Main entrance
  • Dialysis entrance

 

Please speak with your manager if you work in an off-campus building.

When you arrive, the following screening questions will be posted:

  1. Do you have a fever and/or new or worsening cough or difficulty breathing?
  2. Have you been in contact with someone who is sick and had travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days?
  3. Have you been in contact with someone with probable or confirmed COVID-19?

If your answer is “NO” to all questions, show your badge to the screener and enter the hospital.

If you travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days and have no fever, new cough, or difficulty breathing, you will be allowed to proceed to work and asked to self-monitor for 14 days.

If your answer is “YES” to any questions above, you will be asked to proceed to a designated location at each campus for secondary screening.

This is an evolving situation and the process for staff/physician screening may change. A digital screening tool for staff/physicians is under development to help expedite the screening process. More updates will be provided over the coming days. We thank you for your patience and understanding during this transition.

At Charlton Campus, there will be separate entrances for screening patients/visitors. These entrances will be the main entrance (Charlton Street driveway), Juravinski Tower level 0 entrance, Fontbonne Level 1 and Emergency Entrance (2100-0600 only).

At West 5th and King Campuses, the same entrances as listed above for personnel will be used, with separate queues for staff/physicians and patients/visitors.

Visit stjoes.ca for more information on the screening process for patients and visitors:https://www.stjoes.ca/our-stories/news/~2078-COVID-19-Screening-at-Hospital-Entrances

 

Hamilton COVID-19 Assessment Centres open

King Campus has opened one of two Hamilton COVID-19 Assessment Centres. The other one is at Hamilton Health Sciences’ Main Street West Urgent Care Centre. For information, go to the Hamilton Public Health website: https://www.hamilton.ca/public-health/covid-19/covid-19-assessment-centres

  

2. Changes to learners at St. Joe's

In collaboration with McMaster University, Mohawk College and Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), the following decision was made regarding our learners. We want to emphasize that our learners make valuable contributions to our organization and St. Joe’s remains committed to working with them and our academic partners. This has been a difficult decision and one that has not been made lightly. The situation will continue to be assessed.

All clinical and non-clinical learner placements at St. Joe’s are paused including undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students except for:

  • Post graduate medical residents
  • Clinical fellows
  • Undergraduate Medical Education Program Clinical Clerks
  • RESEARCH LEARNERS (graduate students and postdoctoral fellows) who are essential to the continuity of research 

Specific groups: Learning activities at St. Joe’s are paused until further notice for the following groups:

  • All nursing students (including those enrolled in BScN, NP and RPN programs)
  • All Physician Assistant students
  • All students enrolled in inter-professional health care discipline programs
  • RESEARCH LEARNERS (graduate students and postdoctoral fellows) non-essential to the continuity of research 

IF YOU ARE NOT CLEAR ON WHETHER YOUR ROLE AND/OR YOUR PHYSICAL PRESENCE ON SITE IS ESSENTIAL TO THE CONTINUITY OF RESEARCH AT THIS TIME OR NOT, CONTACT YOUR SUPERVISOR/Principal Investigator (PI). 

Should questions arise regarding the designation of essential participation or essential research, this can be clarified by PIs/ Supervisors contacting the VP Research SJHH for final decision. Retrospective chart review type of research with no patient contact can be allowed in some instances at VPR discretion.

 

3. Clinical trials and other research work at SJHH sites:

  • Active accrual for clinical trials should be interrupted until further notice.
  • No new studies should be started. New/ongoing studies for essential research such as COVID19-related research can be approved by the VP Research SJHH.
  • Persons already entered into trials with scheduled interventions, should be allowed to continue if they pass the active screening that will be in effect at all three main campus sites of SJHH from March 17th, 2020, until further notice.
  • In due course RSJH administration will be providing notices required under any contracts to indicate the possible effects of current practices on ongoing trials.

 

4. A reminder to all personnel returning from travel:

From the Government of Canada, an official global travel advisory is in effect: Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.

Further information can be found at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html

 

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A RAPIDLY EVOLVING SITUATION AND ADVICE WILL CHANGE POSSIBLY DAILY.

SJHH position on travel at the present time is:

If you have travelled to ChinaIran or Italy within the past 14 days, regardless of whether you have symptoms or not:

  • YOU CANNOT RETURN TO WORK/SJHH SITE
  • Stay home and self-isolate
  • Inform Employee Health/Occupational Health and Safety at ext. 36131 or email covid19@stjoes.ca
  • Contact your local Public Health Unit (Hamilton Public Health Unit 905 546-2424 ext 7970)
  • RESEARCH LEARNERS – additionally, follow any instructions issued by your academic home

If you have travelled outside of Canada within the past 14 days and are returning to work and if you and your family members who have travelled with you are free of symptoms:

  • Return to work/SJHH site and SELF-MONITOR for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days, including taking your temperature twice a day (Symptoms: New/worsening cough or shortness of breath OR fever)
  • Inform Employee Health/Occupational Health and Safety at ext. 36131 or email covid19@stjoes.ca of your return
  • Stay at home if you develop symptoms and inform Employee Health/Occupational Health and Safety at ext. 36131 or email covid19@stjoes.ca and contact your local Public Health Unit (Hamilton Public Health Unit 905 546-2424 ext 7970)
  • RESEARCH LEARNERS – additionally, follow any instructions issued by your academic home

If you have travelled outside of Canada within the past 14 days and are returning to work and you and/or family members who have travelled with you have symptoms:

  • YOU CANNOT RETURN TO WORK/SJHH SITE
  • Inform Employee Health/Occupational Health and Safety at ext. 36131 or email covid19@stjoes.ca
  • Contact your local Public Health Unit (Hamilton Public Health Unit 905 546-2424 ext 7970) if you develop any symptoms (Symptoms: New/worsening cough or shortness of breath OR fever)
  • RESEARCH LEARNERS – additionally, follow any instructions issued by your academic home

 

Reminder to all staff

At all times, if you are sick or feeling unwell with respiratory symptoms and fever, or nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea stay home and only return to work when you are well. 

Personal travel: St. Joe’s continues to strongly discourage travel outside of Canada.

Work travel: St. Joe’s has discontinued all work travel outside of Canada.

 

More information:

Regular updates on COVID-19 are posted on MyStJoes, the hospital intranet:  

 

We encourage everyone to turn to trusted sources for information:

World Health Organization – More information

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.