Hospitals giving 'best shot' to keep COVID-19 out, despite outbreaks, says HDGH chief of staff

·2 min read

The chief of staff at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare says it's nearly impossible to keep COVID-19 out of hospitals, given the levels of the virus in the community, but it's not for lack of trying.

"We really are giving it our best shot but we are fighting a very infectious virus right now," Dr. Andrea Steen, chief of staff at HDGH, said on CBC Radio's Windsor Morning Tuesday.

Hôtel-Dieu Grace is facing a new outbreak, just over a week after a major outbreak with 61 cases was declared resolved.

The latest outbreak, on 3N in the Dr. Y. Emara Centre for Healthy Aging and Mobility, involves five people — three patients and two staff.

There are currently three other hospital outbreaks at Windsor Regional Hospital, and the Hôtel-Dieu Grace Crisis and Mental Wellness Centre was also recently under outbreak.

Steen said all patients on the floor currently in outbreak have been tested, and will be tested again in the coming days. Staff will be tested for the virus on Tuesday and Wednesday.

She said that while it can be difficult to pinpoint the source of outbreaks, they reflect the high number of cases in the region.

"When you see the numbers that we have in the community, you can understand where patients either coming into the hospital, or staff or even visitors can be carrying the virus, unbeknownst to them," she said.

There is some evidence, however, that cases in the region are beginning to plateau. The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said last Friday that a few key indicators, including case rates, saw small weekly declines.

And on Monday, the health unit reported 35 just cases, though it was unclear whether there could be another explanation for the dramatic decrease from the usual case counts.

Steen said the new numbers are encouraging, though she'd like to see more days of declines before getting "excited."

She hopes the lower numbers reflect the measures people are taking to protect themselves and their families from the virus.

"We're seeing evidence that people are doing what's being asked of them by public health and I'm hoping that will translate into these lower numbers," she said.