Our priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of our patients and our people. Please check our COVID-19 information page to learn more about what to expect for patients and visitors before coming to our sites and clinics.

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Kidney Transplant program

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions for St. Michael’s Hospital kidney transplant patients

There is a lot of information circulating about COVID-19, and we understand that you may have many questions related to your care. Please read this information before calling the transplant clinic. We are experiencing a high number of calls and may take longer than usual to get back to you.

Information is changing quickly and we will do our best to keep this information updated, but for the most up-to-date and detailed information, please visit Toronto Public Health or Ontario Ministry of Health.

If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please contact Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or your primary health care provider.

The transplant clinic cannot see you without an appointment.

Do not call 911 or go to an Emergency Department unless it is an emergency.

I am waiting for a transplant – what is happening with my transplant?

Ontario transplant centres, including St. Michael’s Hospital, have made the difficult decision to suspend almost all kidney transplants for now. This is in discussion among transplant programs, government and organizations across the country, with recommendations from international partners. The only exceptions will be if a kidney becomes available for some very sensitized patients in the Highly Sensitized Patient (HSP) registry, or for those people who are medically urgent (for example, they do not have any dialysis access).

We will continue to monitor the situation and will resume doing kidney transplants again as soon as it is safe to do so.

Is it safe for me to go to the hospital for appointments?

St. Michael’s is limiting the number of patients and visitors that come into the hospital and is screening everyone who enters the hospital for symptoms. We are rescheduling many appointments, especially if you are waiting for a transplant or it has been more than a year since your transplant. Please be advised that if you come to the hospital, we are not allowing family/support persons (visitors) in the hospital at this time to keep our patients, families, staff and physicians safe. See more information here.

Please do not come to the transplant clinic if you are sick or have travelled in the last 14 days. Call the clinic first to check if you can still come. We cannot see you without an appointment.

Are transplant recipients at higher risk of severe outcomes if they get COVID-19?

We do not have specific information on whether the COVID-19 infection is more severe in transplant recipients compared to healthy people; however, other viruses often cause more severe disease in people whose immune system is low, such as transplant recipients. For this reason, it is important to take precautions to prevent infection.

Currently, there is no approved vaccine or medication to treat or prevent COVID-19 but clinical trials are in development. People are thought to be most contagious when they have symptoms, but some people may carry the virus even if they are not showing symptoms or are only mildly ill.

To reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses, including coronaviruses, you should follow usual health precautions such as:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer • sneeze and cough into your sleeve
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • avoid contact with people who are sick
  • avoid crowds and stay two metres (about six feet) away from other people
  • stay home if you are sick

For more information, keep an eye on the Unity Health COVID-19 information page for patients and families.