COVID-19 outbreak declared at Windsor Regional Hospital's Met Campus

·3 min read

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at Windsor Regional Hospital's Metropolitan Campus.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) said eight people have tested positive on the hospital's 4N floor, which is a 32-bed non-surgical unit.

Six of those affected are staff members and two are patients.

The cases are part of a cluster that was announced on Dec. 11. At the time, four employees working on the same floor had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

"We expect more of these, similar to what is seen at numerous local schools lately as the virus is spreading through the community and our workplace is no different," Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH) spokesperson Steve Erwin said in an email.

In a news release Thursday, WRH said of the two patients the health unit has identified as part of the outbreak, "there is no evidence that either patient contracted the virus while in hospital. COVID-19 has not been shown at this time to have spread from WRH staff to patients, or between patients, or between patients and staff."

WRH chief of staff Dr. Wassim Saad told CBC News the hospital has done their own investigation into the cases.

"The two patients were patients that were initially on that unit and were negative, then were discharged home and then when they came back in with symptoms consistent with COVID, were tested and then were subsequently positive," he said, adding that based on the incubation period of the virus they could have either gotten the disease from their hospital stay or from their time in the community.

"We cannot definitively say where they acquired it from," he said.

Saad added the health unit felt it necessary to declare an outbreak as a precaution.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health for WECHU, said Thursday that outbreak prevention measures were implemented when the cluster was first identified.

"Ongoing testing of staff and patients has already been undertaken," he said in a statement.

The health unit said further details about the cases or the number of close contacts can't be disclosed due to privacy considerations.

The outbreak is one of 27 currently declared in the region, and the second one active at a hospital.

The outbreak at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, which was declared late last month, has grown to 55 cases among staff and patients, a hospital official said Thursday. There are also three additional staff cases that have not been connected to the outbreak.

A previous outbreak declaration at WRH's Ouellette Campus has been lifted.

WRH announced last week it is postponing elective and non-urgent surgeries in order to free as many as 30 beds as the pandemic threatens its capacity.

As of Thursday, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said there are 60 people in hospital with COVID-19 throughout the region, with 12 patients in intensive care units.

Another 82 people who are suspected to have COVID-19 are in hospital in Windsor.