As of Monday evening, Quebec has 17 possible cases of COVID-19, according to public health officials.
The province’s only confirmed case, a woman who recently travelled to Iran, is currently in isolation at home.
Despite the fact that no one has been hospitalized, medical professionals at the Jewish General Hospital say they are ready for potential patients.
“We’ve updated all our protocols, our staff is ready, we have the equipment and we have the rooms,” says Director of Professional Services Dr. Louise Miner.
Health Minster Danielle McCann tasked four Quebec hospitals with treating patients afflicted with the virus, including the Jewish General Hospital.
Those who have contracted COVID-19 will be treated in one of the hospital’s 87 negative-pressure rooms, 24 of which take up the entire 10th floor of pavilion K.
The area was built five years ago, where the engineering and ventilation were designed to handle such viruses, according to Chief of Infectious Diseases Dr. Yves Longtin.
Negative-pressure rooms bring in clean air and pull contaminated air circulating around patients out.
Air that is pushed out of the room then goes through a filtration system to prevent re-rirculation of the still-relatively unstudied virus.
“We know so little about it that we have to be very cautious and we have to interrupt transmission as much as possible,” said Longtin.
Medical officials have undergone specialized training on procedures, including how to properly put on masks, gloves, gowns and face shields before treating patients.
Many departments have also undergone simulations should possible cases of the virus present itself at the hospital. The exercises let staff work through the complexity of the treatments, identify potential issues and tweak protocols, if need be.
As new information becomes available, officials are making sure to adjust protocols and screening techniques to make sure no one slips through the cracks.
“What we’re trying so much to do with this whole exercise is to prevent transmission of this virus into the population,” said Dr. Miner.
Health officials recommend anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms who have recently travelled to call 8-1-1, where a nurse will assess your condition.