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COVID-19 outbreak declared at unit in SMGH in Kitchener; one at CMH under ‘watch status’

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Two hospitals in Waterloo Region announced new COVID-19-related issues on Sunday with one announcing an outbreak and the other saying it was under “watch status.”

St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener said a COVID-19 outbreak had been declared in the sixth-floor chest unit after five patients and two staff members tested positive for the coronavirus.

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The hospital says it is testing additional staff and patients if need be and that anyone who requires testing in connection to the outbreak will be contacted.

It has closed the floor to new admissions, except for COVID-19-positive or COVID-19-resolved cases.

SMGH also says care partners’ visits have been cancelled with the exception of those looking to visit palliative patients.

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“Our ongoing priority is to ensure the safety of patients and staff and we will continue all measures to limit further impact of this outbreak and virus on them,” St. Mary’s president Lee Fairclough said in a release.

There are now active outbreaks at all three hospitals in the region with one being announced at Grand River Hospital on Nov. 26 and another at Cambridge Memorial Hospital on Nov. 13.

In addition, CMH announced Sunday that it was investigating another potential COVID-19 outbreak, with an unnamed unit being placed under “watch status” after two staff were confirmed positive on Friday.

The hospital says that tracing is underway for potential contacts for the two employees who have caught the virus.

There was some good news on the COVID-19 front in the region over the weekend as Waterloo Public Health announced just 35 new positive tests for the coronavirus on Saturday.

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This the lowest number of cases announced in the area since Nov. 19.

Read more: Tighter COVID-19 restrictions come into effect in 3 Ontario regions

On Sunday, that number increased to 64, although that total is the lowest aside from Saturday in 10 days.

Unfortunately, another COVID-19-related death was also reported by Waterloo Public Health on Sunday, raising the death toll in the area to 127.

The number of active cases in the area plummeted to 513 on Sunday as Waterloo Public Health announced that 153 more people were cleared of the virus.

On Friday, the Waterloo Region District School Board announced that Linwood Public School had been closed by Waterloo Public Health for as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19.

Read more: COVID-19: Waterloo Public Health orders Mennonite schools, churches closed

It said the move had been made because of community transmission rather than because of an outbreak at the school.

It said that student absenteeism rates at the school had been trending upwards.

On its website, the school says it hosts “a large population of Dave Martin Mennonites as well as Low German Mennonites.”

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Last week, Waterloo Public Health order all Mennonite schools and churches in the area to close as a result of COVID-19 issues.