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Healthcare leaders are not exempt from COVID guidelines, says Ontario Nurses' Association

Statement comes after Sault Area Hospital president visits B.C.
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“The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) believes that during the pandemic, public health guidelines apply to everyone – whether members of the public, front-line health-care workers, politicians or senior leaders at our health-care institutions. Those in leadership positions are no exception to this expectation.”

That from Vicki McKenna, a registered nurse and Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) provincial president, in an email sent to media outlets.

“ONA urges everyone to follow public health guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19,” McKenna wrote.

The emailed statement is in response to reports of high ranking politicians and corporate leaders travelling outside their respective provinces or the country at a time when political leaders and public health officials are urging everyone to stay home as much as possible to stop COVID-19 transmission, Ontario currently in lockdown.

A Toronto-based ONA official forwarded the email to SooToday after it was reported Sault Area Hospital (SAH) CEO Wendy Hansson traveled to British Columbia to visit immediate family and attend medical appointments, according to a statement from the hospital issued to the public Jan. 10.

The ONA official acknowledged Hansson has followed self-isolation guidelines, while still maintaining the ONA’s stance on the matter. 

“Ms. Hansson followed public health guidelines and mitigated risk by isolating with her immediate household and is following post-travel self-isolation,” a SAH spokesperson stated.

Out-of-town, out-of-country travel by high ranking officials during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a source of controversy since it was discovered Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips left the province for a Caribbean vacation Dec. 13.

Phillips resigned as finance minister upon his return to Ontario.

Since then, a number of federal and provincial politicians, in several provinces, have faced barrages of criticism for traveling outside their provinces and/or the country, leading to apologies or being stripped of their positions within their party caucuses.