‘Sadly, COVID-19 has not gone away’: Northumberland hospital CEO

Northumberland Hills Hospital is seeing a rise of COVID-19 cases among people admitted to the west Northumberland hospital.

Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) is seeing a rise of COVID-19 cases among people admitted to the west Northumberland hospital and an outbreak has been declared.

NHH said the number of admitted patients at NHH continues to rise as case counts increase in the region.

“Sadly, COVID-19 has not gone away,” said Susan Walsh, NHH president and CEO.

“We currently have 11 admitted patients confirmed positive for COVID-19. Some are here because of COVID-19, some came to hospital for other reasons but were found to have COVID-19 through our screening procedures and, unfortunately, some (five individuals) appear to have contracted COVID-19 while inside the hospital through person -to-person transmission.”

The 11 in-patients currently being treated and monitored for COVID-19 are located on three units — the 2A and 2B medical/surgical units on the hospital’s second floor, as well as in the inpatient rehabilitation area on the main level.

“Our infection prevention and control team is working closely with counterparts at the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPRDHU). We are taking every step possible to minimize opportunities for the transmission of COVID-19 inside the hospital and we thank everyone for their continued cooperation and support.”

As a precaution, patients and staff considered more at risk of exposure have been tested. Patients recently discharged from the units are in the process of being contacted and provided with instructions regarding self-monitoring and, as appropriate, testing.

The following infection prevention and control measures are in place at NHH:

-Daily self-screening by staff for COVID-19 symptoms – All individuals entering the hospital for work are required to pre-screen for symptoms and refrain from entering the building or community mental health offices in the event symptoms develop.

-Mandatory use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) – All staff, physicians, midwives, and essential caregivers/visitors are expected to pay strict attention to PPE requirements throughout the hospital and NHH’s universal masking policy remains in effect.

-Cohorting of patients considered “high risk contacts” – Any patients identified as having a high risk of exposure have been moved into the same area, tested and cared for with appropriate precautions. New admissions continue and will be evaluated on an as-required basis in consultation with public health.

– Mandatory vaccination of staff – All staff and physicians are required to be up-to-date with their vaccines (two doses). Booster vaccines will continue to be distributed to further reduce the risk of infection and spread.

-Strict adherence to thorough hand hygiene practices will continue to be reinforced.

-Enhanced environmental cleaning – Increased cleaning of the units and the equipment shared between patient rooms.

-Proactive communication – In addition to reaching out directly to all patients involved and to those recently discharged, public notices will be placed on all appropriate hospital entrances as well as to the doorways within/leading to the units involved to promote awareness of the presence of COVID-19 and the importance of vigilance with PPE.

The health unit has formally declared a COVID-19 outbreak at NHH. Visiting has been halted for those inpatients who are in isolation for COVID-19 infection or exposure.

For details on NHH’s visiting guidelines, including exceptions, visit the hospital’s website.

Updates on NHH’s COVID-19 status will be shared through the hospital’s website and related social media channels.

Community outbreak information can be found on the HKPRDHU website.


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