Burnaby Hospital stops taking most new admissions after 5 die and 55 test positive in COVID-19 outbreak
Only intensive care, maternity and community palliative care units accepting new patients
The Fraser Health Authority has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at one of the region's busiest hospitals, which has recorded dozens of cases and a number of deaths.
Fraser Health says 55 patients at Burnaby Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19 and 40 staff are under investigation to determine if they have any connection to the outbreak.
Five people have died in connection with the outbreak at the 286-bed hospital on Kincaid Street.
Officials say the outbreak began on Nov. 9 after a case was transmitted in a medicine unit at the hospital.
"Upon declaring the outbreak, Fraser Health immediately implemented precautions, including enhanced cleaning, as well as contact tracing," said the authority in a statement.
It also offered condolences to people who had "lost loved ones" to the outbreak.
The hospital is testing all patients, staff, support staff and medical staff for COVD-19. It has also stopped taking new admissions, with the exception of the intensive care unit, maternity and community palliative care units.
Other patients are being sent to neighbouring hospitals while Fraser Health says it expects to open the emergency room to admissions in the next few days.
Fraser Health says it has implemented a number of safety protocols to try to stop the outbreak. They include physical distancing and additional measures in the hospital cafeteria, along with staff break rooms and elevators.
Fire contributing factor
Officials say a fire at the hospital on Nov. 15 was a contributing factor to the outbreak because it forced some patients to be moved around the facility.
Fraser Health said an RCMP investigation into the cause of the fire is continuing.
The authority is asking anyone in the region to use its COVID-19 assessment tool and get tested as soon as anyone has symptoms.
On Tuesday, the province announced close to 700 new cases of the disease in the region served by the health authority.