2 deaths, 32 cases associated with Misericordia Community Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

Click to play video: 'Misericordia Hospital admitting fewer patients due to COVID-19 outbreak' Misericordia Hospital admitting fewer patients due to COVID-19 outbreak
WATCH ABOVE: The Misericordia Community Hospital is tightening restrictions as COVID-19 cases continue to increase at the Edmonton facility. As Breanna Karstens-Smith explains, the hospital is closed to new admissions and to transfers of surgical and medicine patients. – Jul 6, 2020

Edmonton’s Misericordia Community Hospital is adding a series of new restrictions due to increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases at the west end facility.

As of Monday, there are now 18 patients and 14 staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Covenant Health said that of those cases, eight were confirmed over the weekend — seven in patients, and one in a staff member.

Two patients linked to the hospital’s outbreak have died after contracting the virus.

Alberta Health officials told Global News the latest death was a man in his 70s. Officials said that due to a delay in the online system, his death will be included in Tuesday’s COVID-19 provincial report.

On Monday, the province announced 130 new COVID-19 cases, which were recorded over the past 72 hours — 29 cases on July 3, 52 on July 4, and 49 on July 5.

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Read more: 130 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta since Friday

The province now has 607 active COVID-19 cases, the majority of which are in Edmonton and Calgary.

Edmonton zone has 234 active cases, while Calgary zone sits at 228. In other parts of the province, South zone has 84 active cases, North zone has 53, and there are four cases in the Central zone. There are also four active cases in an known zone.

A total of 8,389 cases have been identified in the province so far, and 156 people have died.

Read more: COVID-19 outbreak at Misericordia Hospital now includes 2 units, 16 cases, 1 death

Patients at the Misericordia who have tested positive are now being cared for on three units, including the hospital’s COVID-19 unit. In total, eight units are now being included in outbreak restrictions as a precaution.

Covenant Health — the organization that runs the Edmonton hospital — has implemented “aggressive outbreak protocols” and is contact tracing and working with Alberta Health to test all patients and staff who have been present on any of the affected units.

“We are taking this situation extremely seriously and have taken swift action,” Dr. David Zygun, the medical director for Alberta Health Services Edmonton Zone, said.

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“We are taking these significant measures to ensure the safety of patients, staff, physicians, and volunteers.”

Visitors to the affected units are being restricted and are encouraged to meet with loved ones virtually.

New measures in place

As a direct response to the increase in cases, Covenant Health announced Monday the hospital is now closed to new admissions and transfers.

EMS has been instructed to take patients to other hospitals in Edmonton, other than in emergencies when the Misericordia Hospital is the closest care site.

Women who go into labour can still use the Misericordia if it was already part of their birth plan.

Only day surgeries will be performed at the hospital, and planned overnight surgeries will either be postponed or moved to another location.

The hospital’s emergency department is still open, and patients are still being cared for in other parts of the hospital including its labour, mental health, intensive care, and cardiac care departments.

All staff and visitors are being screened as they enter any part of the hospital, according to Covenant Health.

“We care deeply for our patients and staff,” Dr. Owen Heisler, the chief medical officer for Covenant Health, said. “We are doing everything we can to contain transmission and keep patients and the public safe and healthy.”

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Click to play video: 'Alberta investing in COVID-19 serology testing, Misericordia hospital outbreak and more' Alberta investing in COVID-19 serology testing, Misericordia hospital outbreak and more
Alberta investing in COVID-19 serology testing, Misericordia hospital outbreak and more – Jun 23, 2020

The first case related to the outbreak was identified at the Misericordia Community Hospital on June 21, according to AHS. There are currently 17 total outbreaks listed in Alberta. 

Read more: COVID-19 outbreaks declared at 4 Edmonton restaurants

Click to play video: 'Misericordia Hospital outbreak another reminder to be vigilant during the pandemic' Misericordia Hospital outbreak another reminder to be vigilant during the pandemic
Misericordia Hospital outbreak another reminder to be vigilant during the pandemic – Jun 26, 2020

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, will not be giving any in-person updates this week. The province will update numbers online each afternoon, Monday to Friday.

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For up-to-date stories on the outbreak at the Misericordia Hospital, click here.

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