The outbreaks, which affect Unit 4200 (oncology) and Unit 5600 (general surgery), have so far resulted in 14 patients and 11 staff becoming infected with the disease, said the executive director of the hospital during a virtual press conference Tuesday afternoon. Christa Wheeler-Thorne said “enhanced measures” were implemented for both units on October 12 after evidence of COVID-19 transmission was confirmed among patients and staff.
She said the units were immediately closed to new admissions and patient transfers. Foot traffic was also limited to essential services only, and staff were equipped with improved personal protective equipment.
“I’m happy to confirm that in this case these protocols have proven to be very strong,” said Wheeler-Thorne. “They worked as expected. Subsequent transmission has been mitigated and the matter is under control. “
None of those who were infected died or developed severe symptoms, she said.
Wheeler-Thorne said oncology patients who need to be admitted are admitted to other units and nurses with the necessary expertise are referred there.
Regarding the surgeries, she said the 23 were delayed because the hospital did not have access to the surgery unit beds to admit them after the operation.
“We obviously do the ones that need to be done, but we are selective in where we place these patients and we make sure that we have that clinical expertise to provide their post-operative care. “
Source most likely a visitor
Responding to questions from the media, Horizon infectious disease specialist Dr Gordon Dow said the outbreak started in one unit and spread to the other unit when an asymptomatic patient was transferred to one. other floor. The patient was transferred before testing positive, Dow said.
And although this has not been definitively confirmed, Dow said the data suggests a visitor was behind the outbreak.
“It’s probably related to the visits,” Dow said. “You can’t say emphatically, but the data lines up to say that visits are how it was introduced. “
Dow said Horizon and Vitalité Health Network closed its hospitals to general visits on October 8, in response to the growing number of COVID-19 cases and community transmission incidents in the region.
“Of course, looking back, I wish we had done it a bit sooner. We got the ball rolling earlier, but of course it takes a while for these things to happen, ”he said.
“It often takes about a week from the time we make a plan, to align it between the two. [health authorities] then present it to our respective leaders and put it in place. “
Dow noted that oncology patients are generally immunocompromised, but added that a high percentage of those affected by the outbreak are vaccinated.
“And interestingly, despite having other underlying conditions like cancer, most of these patients are doing well. “
Dow said Monday was the last time a new case was identified in Unit 5600, and October 16 was the last time a new case was identified in Unit 4200.
Outbreaks in the two units will not be declared over until 28 days after the identification of the last new case, he said.