London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) says it’s implementing additional health and safety measures in a bid to clamp down on a growing multi-floor coronavirus outbreak at one of its hospitals.
In addition, organization officials stress that despite the outbreak, as well as cases involving at least 28 staff members, its facilities remain a safe place to seek and receive care.
“We are actively working in collaboration with our partners at Middlesex-London Health Unit to address the COVID-19 outbreaks at University Hospital and I want to thank everyone whose efforts are helping to reduce transmission,” said LHSC CEO Dr. Woods in a statement Friday.
For more than two weeks, LHSC has been grappling with outbreaks at its University Hospital (UH) campus that have impacted a total of seven units and infected a total of 61 people, according to the health unit. Eleven of the 17 cases reported by the health unit on Friday were linked to the hospital,
“Regrettably there have been two deaths associated with these outbreaks and LHSC shares its thoughts and sympathies with the families during this difficult time,” Woods said.
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Local health officials first declared an outbreak at UH on Nov. 10 in the hospital’s 4IP General Medicine unit. The next day, on Nov. 11, a separate outbreak was declared in 9IP Orthopedics.
While the Nov. 11 outbreak has since resolved and was only tied to six cases, the Nov. 10 outbreak in 4IP General Medicine has continued to grow, and as of Friday, encompassed at least six units on multiple floors of the hospital.
The two most recent units to be impacted by the Nov. 10 outbreak were reported on Friday: 4TU Multi-Organ Transplant Unit and 6IP Cardiovascular Surgery.
They join 4IP General Medicine, 6IP Acute/Decant Medicine, 9IP Sub-Acute Medicine, and 10IP Palliative Care/Sub-Acute Medicine as units the outbreak has affected in the 17 days it has been active.
At least 55 cases and two deaths have been linked to the expansive Nov. 10 outbreak, the health unit says, making it the largest outbreak to be seen in London and Middlesex during the pandemic, according to the region’s medical officer of health, Dr. Chris Mackie.
A number of those infected have been staff at the hospital, he says, with transmission being driven by people letting their guard down, such as during work breaks.
LHSC reported Friday that at least 28 staff members in its organization were currently infected with the virus, while at least 26 inpatients with COVID-19 were in its care.
“The major breakdown was personal protective equipment between staff,” Mackie said of the ongoing outbreak.
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“I really empathize with the