53 cases, including 7 deaths, now linked to COVID-19 outbreak at Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital

The Misericordia Community Hospital is shown in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday July 8, 2020. Jason Franson, The Canadian Press

The COVID-19 outbreak at Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital continues to grow, with a total of 53 cases linked to the facility as of Thursday afternoon.

In an update on its website, Covenant Health — the organization that operates the hospital — said there were 16 patients currently in hospital because of the novel coronavirus. One patient was discharged on Wednesday.

Two additional staff members have tested positive in connection with the outbreak, bringing the total of affected staff to 21, Covenant Health said.

In total, seven deaths have now been linked to the outbreak.

Read more: Q and A with medical director of Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital about COVID-19 outbreak

Alberta Health said Thursday that a death originally linked to the outbreak on July 9, then recategorized as not being a result of COVID-19, has once again been linked to COVID-19. The victim was a man in his 90s.

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“It has since been determined upon further investigation that the case was indeed linked to the outbreak,” a spokesperson for Alberta Health said Thursday.

“We are committed to ensuring that reporting is as transparent and accurate as possible with Albertans.”

The total number of cases — 53 — includes staff, patients, discharges, deaths and visitors, and represents both active and recovered cases.

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“Some of those cases, we had already known about, but through investigation were linked back to an exposure at the outbreak so they were cases that had been identified a week or so ago but have only just now been linked to the outbreak,” Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.

“So not all of those are new and they don’t necessarily indicate current transmission. As you recall, it can be up to 14 days from an exposure to when someone becomes symptomatic and therefore it’s not surprising that we would see a few new cases happen even after we put those restrictions in place at the hospital.”

Read more: Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital on ‘full facility outbreak’ due to COVID-19

The hospital in west Edmonton remained on a full facility outbreak Thursday, which was put in place more than a week ago. No new patients are being admitted to the hospital and day procedures and visits have been postponed or rescheduled at another Edmonton hospital. This includes the emergency department.

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Patients should not visit the Misericordia, and should instead visit another hospital or call 911 if needed.

Last week, Alberta Health Services announced it will form a task force to investigate the COVID-19 outbreak at the hospital, which was first identified in late June.

“The safety of our patients, staff, physicians and visitors remains our No. 1 priority,” said Dr. Owen Heisler, chief medical officer with Covenant Health.

“Covenant Health, Alberta Health Services and our teams continue to work tirelessly and collaboratively, taking every possible step to respond with compassion to this challenging situation and to ensure a safe environment for care.”

Read more: Task force to investigate Misericordia Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

On Thursday, Alberta confirmed an additional 120 cases of COVID-19, the highest daily increase in cases since May 2, according to Hinshaw.

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

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