The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance has strengthened its safety protocols in an attempt to contain two COVID-19 outbreaks within the facility.
Outbreaks have been declared at the Chatham site in the hospital’s COVID-19 unit and the Medicine A and B units.
There are currently 10 patients hospitalized with the virus and 10 staff who have tested positive.
As of Monday, there were two patients in the CKHA ICU, of which one was on a ventilator.
As a result, 30 people are now isolating because they are a suspected case or may have had close contact.
According to president and chief executive officer Lori Marshall, the hospital has moved into its strictest visitor policy and no COVID-19 affected patients will be allowed visitors.
There are exceptions to the rule, Marshall notes, including women in labour, patients at end of life and children in paediatric care.
The hospital has also stepped up its in-house safety protocols. All patients and staff are being swabbed for the virus this week, she says, adding they hope to retest all patients again after a five-day period.
But even though face-to-face contact with patients is prohibited, the alliance is doing its best to keep people connected to family and friends.
Marshall says the hospital is boosting communication with the outside world having purchased new iPods designed for Face time chats.
Three employees been hired specifically to help patients utilize the technology, Marshall explains.
“We want to ensure patients and their loved ones have virtual connections,” the CEO says.
Marshall says another safety aspect is to ensure employees do not go outside of their designated work areas and that they remain with their employee cohort.
Marshall says it’s easier to assign nurses to a unit, adding there’s a greater challenge delivering specialized patient services such as physiotherapy.
Housekeeping measures at both hospital sites have also been heightened, Marshall says and with rooms and areas being sterilized with the state-of-the-art Noco spray.
Personal protective equipment has also been enhanced, Marshall says, as the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit has now recommended employees wear protective shields.
As of Monday there were nine outbreaks in the municipality.
Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald