The COVID-19 outbreak at the Misericordia Community Hospital in Edmonton now includes two units and consists of nine patients and seven staff who have tested positive, officials said Friday.
The first case was identified on June 21, Alberta Health Services said. Outbreak protocols were implemented.
“There’s one unit where the majority of cases are and there was a patient who was on that initial infected unit transferred to another unit who’s now positive,” Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday.
“The main impact has been on those particular units with respect to pausing any admissions or transfers.”
Covenant Health is testing all patients on the affected units and is also testing all staff who have either worked on or have been present on those units, even if they are not showing symptoms, AHS spokesperson Kerry Williamson said.
“All potential contacts are being traced to ensure we reduce the possibility of spread and we are following Occupational Health, Safety and Wellness and Public Health isolation and testing protocols.”
Williamson said surgical capacity has been reduced and “the site is currently only conducting urgent, emergent and oncology surgeries.”
A total of 28 elective surgeries were postponed Friday and 13 will be completed, AHS said.
“Visitors to the affected units are being restricted at this time,” Williamson added. “We encourage families to continue to meet virtually with their loved ones.”
During Thursday’s update, Hinshaw confirmed the one new death from COVID-19 in Alberta was connected to the Misericordia outbreak. It was a patient — a man in his 80s.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with this patient’s family and loved ones at this difficult time,” Williamson said.
There were no new deaths connected to the outbreak as of Friday.
On Tuesday, Alberta Health said the outbreak was contained to one unit at the hospital and six patients and two staff had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. On Wednesday, six patients and five staff were positive for COVID-19.
Contact tracing for Covenant Health staff is being done by Covenant Occupational Health, Safety and Wellness. There are currently 10 occupational health nurses — who are Covenant Health staff — completing the tracing, with help from Covenant support staff, AHS said.
Contact tracing for patients is conducted by Alberta Health Services and Covenant Infection Prevention and Control.
AHS said all parties involved are working together to make sure the hospital is safe and following protocols like cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants, proper use of PPE, proper physical distancing on units and common areas, proper hand-hygiene practices.
Hinshaw stressed this one incident should not deter people from seeking medical treatment they need.
“We’ve been in this COVID response for almost four months now and this is the first time that we’ve had an acute care outbreak where transmission has occurred within that facility that’s affected patients.
“We have had a few other acute care outbreaks that have been declared as either a precaution or there’s been some staff-to-staff transmission,” she said.
“But I want to make sure that it’s clear that I don’t want people to fear going to seek health care because of this incident.
“This is an isolated incident. It’s being investigated. And to have one outbreak in four months in acute care is very low risk.”
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