Chatham-Kent public health declares 2nd COVID-19 outbreak at local hospital

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Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is experiencing a second COVID-19 outbreak after two staff members and one patient tested positive for the disease.

The outbreak, declared by the local public health unit, is taking place in Medicine A and B units at the hospital's Chatham site, according to a news release Friday.

On Thursday, Chatham-Kent public health announced the hospital's first outbreak, which is taking place in the Chatham site's COVID-19 unit. The outbreak involves one positive staff member and one positive patient.

As a result of these outbreaks, the hospital said it is now using its most "restrictive" essential visitor and care partner policy.

Any patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed any visitors or care partners, the hospital said.

There is an exception, only palliative and end-of-life patients on outbreak units are allowed one care partner through the visitor restrictions appeals process.

Exceptions on non-outbreak units include:

  • One care partner or visitor at any time of day for palliative or end of life patients.

  • For women in labour, one consistent partner will be allowed the whole time, including post-partum.

  • In the Emergency Department, patients at imminent risk of dying or those with significant mental or physical difficulties will be allowed one adult care partner.

  • Paediatric patients can have one visitor.

  • Case workers can be a care partner to support patients with significant developmental or intellectual disabilities.

  • Outpatients, including frail/elderly, those with mental impairments, non-verbal or severely disabled, are allowed a care partner for their visit.

The hospital said despite these outbreaks, it is still a "safe place to receive care," as the risk of contracting COVID-19 is low.

For now, the hospital said outpatient appointments, diagnostics and therapeutics will continue.