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Coronavirus outbreak at Lloydminster Hospital declared over

Lloydminster Hospital head links coronavirus spread to masking policy
WATCH: The spread of the novel coronavirus at the Lloydminster Hospital could be connected to some health-care workers going unmasked months into the pandemic, the facility's head said.

The novel coronavirus outbreak at the Lloydminster Hospital that infected 31 people has been declared over by the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

Medical health officer Dr. Mandiangu Nsungu lifted the outbreak following 28 days of no reported cases of COVID-19.

The SHA says visitor restrictions remain in effect for Lloydminster Hospital along with all other health facilities in the province.

The outbreak was declared on April 26 after a cluster of cases were reported at the hospital. It started with an asymptomatic patient who had been at the hospital for weeks for an unrelated issue.

READ MORE: Lloydminster Hospital head links coronavirus spread to masking policy

Dr. Kevin Govender, site lead for the hospital, said the COVID-19 outbreak was likely a result of staff not wearing proper personal protective equipment, or PPE.

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Govender said the outbreak may not have been as severe if surgical masks had been mandated sooner by the SHA.

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On April 15, the SHA made masks a requirement for all staff in clinical care areas. Govender said the transmission at the hospital could have happened before then, as the virus has an incubation period of up to two weeks.

“The asymptomatic spread could well have occurred outside of the continuous masking period,” said Govender, who has worked at the border-city hospital for 14 years.

“The fact that we’ve seen no further spread since we’ve been on outbreak precautions is suggestive of this.”

About 100 of the hospitals 500 workers had to self-isolate because of the outbreak.

In total, 11 patients and 11 workers were infected along with nine others who were in close contact with them.

With files from Anna McMillan.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan health minister takes responsibility for COVID-19 communication shortfalls

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.