Investigation indicates multiple sources of COVID-19 outbreaks at Foothills Hospital – Calgary


As officials continue to work to determine what caused several outbreaks of COVID-19 at Calgary’s Foothills Medical Center and led to the spread of the virus throughout the facility, one thing is starting to become clear: There is likely more. from a source for the virus. enter the hospital.

“The preliminary conclusion we have come to is that we don’t think there is a single source that explains all of the epidemics we see,” site medical director Dr Peter Jamieson said Thursday.

Jamieson said the investigation into the source of the outbreaks, which span three heart units as well as two general medicine units, is ongoing and involves “deep detective” work.

So far, Jamieson said officials have determined that the three heart unit outbreaks are connected, but no link has been found between the other two outbreak units, but that they “are the subject of ‘an investigation as a potential’.

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Jamieson said it was too early to speculate on how the virus was spreading between heart units, adding that occupational health and safety and infection prevention and control teams were working diligently to identify the spread. .

Several weeks ago, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Deena Hinshaw said investigators were reviewing reports that the virus could have entered the hospital or through a visitor who did not follow mask guidelines or by a member of staff who went to work when he was symptomatic.

No determination of cause of COVID-19 at Foothills hospital despite reports: Hinshaw

No determination of cause of COVID-19 at Foothills hospital despite reports: Hinshaw

Jamieson did not receive an update on these specific aspects of the investigation on Thursday and would not say whether staff coming to work feeling ill were indeed being investigated, but said prevention and the management of epidemics were only possible with »strict respect for sanitary measures. “

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“We have aggressively followed up on any concerns about people not wearing masks and of course we do regular screening to make sure people don’t come to work when they are sick,” he said. declared.

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Another patient was confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 in connection with the outbreaks on Thursday, for a total of 46. Another healthcare worker also tested positive for the virus, Jamieson said, carrying that total. at 38. A total of 11 patients have died from COVID-19 linked to the outbreaks.

Two more units were also added to the hospital’s coronavirus outbreak watch list earlier this week – a cancer care unit and a neurology unit – and Jamieson said that means officials have increased screening staff and patients for symptoms and asymptomatic testing, as well as restricted to those authorized in units, such as students and researchers

He said a unit can be put on surveillance for a variety of reasons, but there is no indication that the virus has spread to patients on either unit.

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Jamieson said he was “happy and optimistic with the progress being made in outbreak control units,” but said as long as the virus continues to spread in the community, hospitals in Alberta and beyond are at risk of experience outbreaks.

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“I would point out that we continue to have relatively high levels of community transmission of COVID-19 across the hospital, across the province. It’s a global problem, not specifically a foothills or Alberta problem, ”he said.

The first of seven outbreaks at the Calgary hospital was reported on September 19. From there, six more outbreaks were declared. As of Thursday, only five units remained in an epidemic state and three were under epidemic surveillance.

A total of 318 staff members have been mandated to quarantine and monitor for symptoms of the virus after possible exposure at work. Jamieson couldn’t get into specific numbers on Thursday, but said the “substantial majority” had returned to work. A total of 45 surgeries were postponed due to staff shortages due to isolations from the outbreak.

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