NORTH BAY -- In an effort to keep the North Bay Regional Health Centre safe, hospital staff will be screening all patients and visitors as well as restricting access to the facility.

Public access will only be available at the emergency department entrance.

Patients and visitors will be screened before entry for respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19.

"Active screening is necessary to keep our patients, staff, and physicians safe while also identifying those individuals with symptoms and travel history or possible exposure to a COVID-19 positive case," said the hospital in a statement.

The hospital's full operations with all inpatient and outpatient services are running as usual.

Unless advised otherwise, the hospital is reminding the public that scheduled appointments and surgeries will go ahead as planned.

"The community is asked to avoid visiting the hospital and to limit the number of people accompanying patients to appointments or to the emergency department," said the hospital.

"NBRHC will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and adapt as necessary to provide a safe environment for our patients, staff, physicians and community."

To date, there are no COVID-19 positive cases reported at the hospital.

If a community member suspects they may have been exposed to COVID-19, they are asked to phone the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit at 1-800-563-2808 ext. 5229 to speak to public health nurse, or call their health care provider to await instruction.

If you have COVID-19 suspicions and require emergency services, call 9-1-1 and inform them during the call so the proper precautions can be taken before their arrival.