Grand River Hospital, in consultation with Region of Waterloo Public Health, has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 on one of its medicine units, 8A.
While there is no set criteria to define a hospital outbreak of COVID-19, Grand River Hospital has incorporated guidance provided for other respiratory illnesses to identify when an outbreak occurs; a hospital outbreak is generally declared when two or more patients and/or staff test positive for a respiratory illness that was acquired in hospital within a timeframe that is consistent with the epidemiology of the disease, and when there is a link between the cases.
Early April, a patient was admitted to hospital with no symptoms of COVID-19. After admission, the patient developed respiratory symptoms and tested positive for COVID mid-April. A patient in the same room has also recently tested positive, as has a staff member who provided direct care to both patients.
“The safety and wellbeing of our staff, care providers and patients is our top priority,” says Bonnie Camm, VP, clinical services at Grand River Hospital. “GRH provides staff with the necessary personal protective equipment and training, and supports the provision of care through protocols that assume that every patient is suspected of having COVID-19. We also have many processes in place to identify those with symptoms as quickly as possible to reduce the risk to others, and will continue to work with public health and those impacted to ensure all are provided with the support and care they need.”
The outbreak has been contained to the 8A hallway, with additional precautions implemented on hallways 8A, 8B and 8C to ensure increased safety of all. The hospital has reached out to patients and staff who may have been at risk of exposure to advise them of the outbreak and provide support as needed. Other patients who received care from the affected staff member have been isolated. The staff member who tested positive is currently isolating at home and will be able to return to work when they have had two negative tests within a 24-hour period.
“We wish our staff and these patients a safe recovery,” says Camm. “We are extremely grateful for the dedication and commitment our staff have shown in providing care to our community throughout this pandemic. We will continue to implement practices and measures that will keep our staff, patients and hospital safe.”
In response to COVID-19, Grand River Hospital has implemented the following precautions and processes;
· Enhanced screening and the provision of masks for all entering our hospital, including staff.
· Initiating a no-visitor policy, except in exceptional circumstances.
· Ongoing staff education, communication and reminders on the use of personal protective equipment, physical distancing, hand hygiene and the latest directives.
· Active surveillance to identify potential cases and follow-up investigations.
· Enhanced, regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces in the hospital.
· Education of patients and families about COVID-19 hospital protocols.
· As part of ongoing risk assessments, continually reviewing our practices and implementing new measures as required.