7 patients, 9 staff test positive in COVID-19 outbreak at St. Mary's Hospital

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The West Island regional health board has confirmed an outbreak at St. Mary's Hospital, where seven patients and nine staff members on the fifth and eighth floors have contracted the novel coronavirus.

The health board is conducting contact tracing and investigating what may have caused the outbreak.

All patients on both floors have been tested and are in isolation, according to the health board's infection and control officer, Ramona Rodrigues.

She says most of nine infected staff members are nurses or nursing interns at the hospital. They have been sent home until they test negative for the virus.

"Because we don't know what the situation is we've closed the unit to admissions. We've closed the unit to visitors. We've closed the unit as well for any unessential individuals, so that we're not exposing more individuals," Rodrigues said.

She said one of the most important lessons learned since the first wave is that respecting two metres of distance between people is essential to preventing outbreaks — especially when people are in situations where they have to remove their masks, such as at the cafeteria.

St Mary's is one of Montreal's largest birthing centres, but Rodrigues says the latest outbreak has had no impact on the obstetrics unit.