As of Monday, all surgical patients admitted to Horizon Health hospitals must have a COVID-19 test and need to self-isolate prior to their surgery date.
According to a Horizon Health microbiologist, the expanded measures will be in place across all Horizon facilities.
“During all phases of our pandemic response, Horizon has been administering rapid molecular tests on all admitted patients displaying symptoms of COVID-19,” said Dr. Chelsey Ellis with The Moncton Hospital.
“In addition, when hospitals are in Red Phase, we now require all surgical patients to be swabbed at least 72 hours prior to their procedure, and patients must also self-isolate between the COVID-19 test date and their surgical date.”
Previously, only unvaccinated and asymptomatic patients were tested.
A retired OR nurse said more testing is a great move, but questions why these measures were only put in place after outbreaks in hospitals.
“Is this in reaction to the outbreaks that have taken place there? Why was it not started previously when the hospitals went to red?” Carla Vautour said.
Vautour said she questions why it took two recent outbreaks at The Moncton Hospital before the expanded measures were put in place.
“We have become reactive to some of the circumstances as opposed to preventative,” she said.
She said that patients being treated as outpatients or those admitted to the hospital in any unit should receive a rapid test as a precaution, even if they are asymptomatic.
But more importantly, she said rapid tests should be made readily available to staff.
“When we have an outbreak, staff should have priority as far as rapid testing. I fear that the staff is not getting the support it needs as far as rapid testing,” she said.
Horizon Health said that staff are actively screened upon entry during the hospital’s Red Phase.