St. Mary’s Provides Update on Current COVID-19 Outbreak, Investigates Potential for a Second Outbreak

December 8th, 2020

December 8 2020 – St. Mary’s General Hospital continues to actively manage an outbreak of COVID-19 on its sixth floor Chest Unit that was declared on December 6. As of this morning, December 8, a total of seven patients and four staff have tested positive for the virus. Testing and heightened precautions continue and we wish both patients and staff well in their recovery.

Unfortunately, St. Mary’s, in consultation with Waterloo Region Public Health, is also investigating a potential second outbreak of COVID-19 on its seventh floor Medicine Unit. This comes after a confirmed case today in a patient who may have acquired the virus during a previous stay at St. Mary’s. Rapid testing on eight patients on the unit is occurring today and a possible connection to staff on the unit is being explored. Contact tracing is occurring with staff testing where required.

St. Mary’s has proactively begun to follow the same protection measures on the seventh floor Medicine Unit that were undertaken on December 5 on its sixth floor Chest Unit in anticipation that an outbreak would be confirmed. These are:

  • The seventh floor Medicine Unit is closed to new admissions, except COVID-resolved cases.
  • Droplet contact precautions are in effect for all patients on the unit.
  • Care Partner visits are temporarily suspended with the exception of visits with palliative patients, and for those visits deemed essential by the unit care team to support a marked improvement in a patient’s care. Staff are asked to work with Patient Experience to enhance efforts to organize telephone and virtual visits for patients and families. Care Partner visits are permitted on other units until further notice, with the exception of the Chest Unit which has had similar restrictions in place since December 8.
  • Hospital leaders have been supporting staff and assisting conversations with patients and families on the unit today.
  • Frequent cleaning of high touch and high traffic areas continues.

St. Mary’s knows that facing a potential second outbreak is worrying and please know that our first priority is the safety of our patients, staff and physicians. The hospital has strong infection prevention and control measures in place and it remains safe to receive care in the hospital.  If you have questions, please contact our Patient Experience department for a response at 519-749-6578, ext. 6867.

“Now more than ever, with outbreaks at all three hospitals, and significant community spread, we ask the community to do all it can to follow public health precautions and thank all of you who continue to do so,” said President Lee Fairclough. “By working together we can help to limit spread and hospitalizations, keep our patients, staff and physicians safe, and help us maintain service levels to the greatest extent possible.’’


Posted December 6. 2020

December 6, 2020 – St. Mary’s General Hospital, in consultation with Waterloo Region Public Health, has today declared an outbreak of COVID-19 on its sixth floor Chest Unit. The outbreak currently involves five patients and two staff. They are in our thoughts and we wish them well in their recovery.

Additional patients and staff on the Chest Unit are being tested as appropriate. Any patient requiring testing as part of the outbreak will be notified. Otherwise, patients and families shouldn’t feel they need to contact the hospital about a current or previous admission. If you have concerns and wish to speak to someone, Patient Experience is available to respond to calls at 519-749-6578 ext. 6867.

St. Mary’s continues with precautionary measures implemented on December 5 on the Chest Unit in anticipation of the outbreak being declared.

  • The sixth floor Chest Unit is closed to new admissions, except for COVID-positive or COVID-resolved cases
  • Droplet precautions are in effect for all patients on the entire unit
  • Care Partner visits are temporarily suspended to the unit on 600 with the exception of visits with palliative patients, and for those visits deemed essential by the unit care team to support a marked improvement in a patient’s condition.
  • Patient Experience will assist to organize telephone and virtual visits for patients and families. The Care Partner policy remains in effect on other units until further notice.
  • Frequent cleaning of high touch and high traffic areas continues

“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,” said Lee Fairclough, St. Mary’s President.  “We are also greatly concerned about the surge of COVID-19 in our community including in workplaces, schools and other settings, as well as the current outbreaks at all three hospitals in Waterloo Region, and the increasing numbers of hospital staff contracting COVID-19 from community exposure. All of this has potential to impact bed capacity within the hospitals and our ability to maintain services, such as scheduled surgery and procedures.” she said.

“Hospitals in Waterloo Wellington work together to manage bed capacity as much as is feasible. However our local healthcare system is in an increasingly precarious position and we need the public’s help to further protect our healthcare workers by strictly following all public health measures,” she added. The most recent data from Waterloo Region Public Health highlights the extent of cases, including a map which demonstrates the widespread nature of the current situation.

As St. Mary’s takes all steps to limit spread of its current COVID-10 outbreak, we will continue to update the public as new information is available.

Contact: Anne Kelly, Manager, Communications
226-339-1903 or akelly@smgh.ca


 

Posted December 5, 2020

St. Mary’s General Hospital Investigates Potential Outbreak of COVID -19

St. Mary’s General Hospital, in consultation with Waterloo Region Public Health, is investigating a potential outbreak of COVID-19 on its sixth floor Chest Unit, which will be confirmed based on the results of additional testing on the unit.

The investigation is in the early stages with a number of test results pending. Out of an abundance of caution, a number of measures are being taken to protect patients and staff:

  • The sixth floor Chest Unit is closed to new admissions, except for COVID-positive or COVID-resolved cases
  • Droplet precautions are in effect for all patients on the entire unit
  • Care Partner visits are temporarily suspended with the exception of visits with palliative patients, and for those visits deemed essential by the unit care team to support a marked improvement in a patient’s care. Staff will enhance efforts to organize telephone and virtual visits for patients and families. The Care Partner policy remains in effect on other units until further notice.
  • Hospital leaders are on site today to support staff and assist conversations with patients and families on the unit.
  • Frequent cleaning of high touch and high traffic areas continues

St. Mary’s has strong infection prevention and control practices in place, which, if followed well, will limit the potential for the spread of COVID-19. The virus is now widespread and surging in all parts of Waterloo Region and is easily contracted, even if gaps in precautions are brief. Just as the hospital reinforces safety precautions regularly on an internal basis, we urge everyone in our community to strictly follow public health guidelines. This will help to limit spread and hospitalizations and keep our patients, staff and physicians safe so that service levels can be maintained to the greatest degree possible.

An update will be provided as soon as it is available.