6 more COVID-19 cases confirmed as additional Foothills units on ‘outbreak watch’

Click to play video 'COVID-19 outbreak at Foothills hospital continues to grow' COVID-19 outbreak at Foothills hospital continues to grow
WATCH: The COVID-19 outbreak at Calgary’s Foothills hospital continues to grow. Blake Lough reports. – Sep 25, 2020

Three additional Foothills Medical Centre units are on “outbreak watch” as more COVID-19 cases have been linked to two outbreaks at the Calgary hospital.

According to Alberta Health Services, five more staff have tested positive for the virus, bringing the total of healthcare worker cases to 17 as of Friday.

Read more: 3 more healthcare workers test positive for COVID-19 in Foothills outbreak

One more patient has been diagnosed with COVID-19, AHS said, for a total of 18.

The outbreaks, first announced on the weekend, haven’t spread further than two cardiac units — 81 and 103A — and one general medicine unit, AHS said. However two more general medicine units — 62 and 36 — and one other cardiac unit — 82 — are being watched.

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“Units may be put on a watch as we trace the movement of positive patients or staff from outbreak units, if there is a probable case that requires more definitive investigation, or if there’s a situation with a significant COVID case exposure,” AHS said.

“A unit can be on watch without having any active patient or staff cases.”

Any potential exposures on units under watch are fully investigated, and enhanced cleaning and patient and staff screening is also done.

“All patients, families, staff and physicians are made aware when a unit is on outbreak or watch,” AHS said.

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Hinshaw announces 29 patients, 3 deaths associated with Foothills hospital COVID-19 outbreak – Sep 24, 2020

AHS said almost all staff affected by the outbreaks have been identified. By Friday, 136 staff members were isolating and monitoring for symptoms.

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“Multiple teams are working daily to determine where the infection may have started, how it was transmitted and who needs to be contacted and tested to limit exposure,” AHS said.

“This is standard procedure in our contact tracing that we implement with any outbreak.”

On the units with outbreaks, visitation has been restricted to end-of life situations and any visitors coming onto the units have to go through temperature checks. Staff and patients on all three units are also being screened twice daily.

Read more: Coronavirus: 3rd patient dies, patient screening increased amid Foothills hospital outbreaks

“We want to remind all Albertans that our hospitals remain a safe place to visit and to receive care – there is no increased risk to patients coming to the hospital,” AHS said.

“That said, it is very important that we all remain vigilant – anyone who is exhibiting symptoms must not visit patients in hospital or other care settings.”