Outbreak declared in COVID-19 unit at CKHA

·3 min read

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared in the COVID-19 unit at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

CKHA announced the first COVID-19 outbreak after one staff member and one patient on the COVID-19 unit tested positive.

An outbreak is declared as soon as two or more staff and/or patients test positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day period in a specified area. CKHA said the affected staff member is isolating at home and working closely with CK Public Health to trace contacts. CK Public Health contacts staff who have been exposed and informs them of appropriate measures to take.

CKHA CEO Lori Marshall said the patient had a suspected case and hadn’t tested positive for the virus when they came to the hospital.

“Since the outset of this pandemic, our organization has taken decisive and immediate action with the ever-evolving dynamics of COVID-19 in our community,” said Marshall. “The safety of our patients, our staff, our physicians, our visitors, and our entire community remains our top priority.”

She added all admissions to the COVID-19 unit are on hold unless it’s a confirmed positive case. Marshall also said there would no longer be any transfers out of the COVID-19 unit to other units unless it’s medically necessary for those patients to get a higher level of care. Staff at the COVID-19 unit will work at that unit only.

Marshall emphasized that staff follow all proper personal protective equipment protocols but are not sure how the transmission occurred.

According to Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby, that is under investigation.

“Every single case that is reported of COVID-19 represents a breakdown in precautions,” said Colby. “For months now, I’ve been harping about hand-washing, physical distancing, wearing face coverings. It isn’t perfect. This is a very contagious virus.

Colby said mistakes can be made, and breakdowns can happen, although no systemic breakdowns in health and safety protocols have been found at the hospital.

Marshall said 11 of the 12 beds in the Covid-19 unit are currently occupied.

As of Jan. 28, the hospital has seven positive cases and four negative or probable cases in the COVID-19 unit. There are also two positive cases in the Intensive Care Unit.

Impacted staff are isolating at home and working with the Chatham-Kent public health unit for contact tracin

Fewer than five staff members have active cases, and fewer than 15 staff members are isolating at home, said Marshall.

She added staff are following all COVID-19 safety measures to not only avoid transmission in the hospital but also avoid being sent home as contacts,

“Chatham-Kent Health Alliance remains a safe place for people to come and access their care,” said Marshall. “Whether that is individuals who have been scheduled for surgery or whether it is someone who needs to access our emergency department, I do not want the community to be concerned about whether or not they should be coming to the hospital.”

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News