Health P.E.I. looking to change isolation rules for health-care workers amid rising COVID-19 cases

·2 min read
Dr. Michael Gardam said there's been discussions around the clock on how the province can minimize the impact rising COVID-19 cases have on the health-care system. (CBC - image credit)
Dr. Michael Gardam said there's been discussions around the clock on how the province can minimize the impact rising COVID-19 cases have on the health-care system. (CBC - image credit)

Health P.EI. says the province could soon be changing rules on when health-care workers have to self isolate.

CEO Dr. Michael Gardam said making staff who have been close contacts self-quarantine until they receive negative results could soon become unsustainable if COVID-19 cases continue to ramp up.

On Wednesday, the province declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The Chief Public Health Office said fewer than five people there tested positive for the virus.

Gardam said an outbreak such as this was inevitable.

"We've been expecting this would happen from very early on," he said. "The reality is that there's so much widespread disease in our province that we're going to get health-care workers coming in who turn out positive."

Gardam said these workers are so vital, the province can't afford to send an increasing number of them home.

"We are in the process of changing now," he said.

"We would allow health-care workers who are contacts to continue to work. But we will be testing them regularly to see if they become positive, because even if we control it quite well in our hospitals, which I believe we will and we can, we will continue to have people coming in with this."

He said there's been discussions around the clock on how the province can minimize the impact rising COVID-19 cases have on the health-care system.

"Shut everything down right away, you cause a lot of harm by doing that. People can't get their cancer surgery, et cetera," Gardam said.

"So we're trying to be very careful when we start scaling back our our clinical services. We have lots of personal protective stuff for people to wear, so they have masks and respirators and the things that they need. We're doing a lot of screening and we are just going to continue with those same methods. There's really no magic to it."

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