British Columbia

COVID-19 outbreaks declared at 3 hospitals across B.C.

The Vancouver Coastal Health authority says it is in the process of contacting the families of patients at St. Paul's Hospital after an unknown number of patients in its heart care centre tested positive for COVID-19. 

Chilliwack General, St. Paul's, University Hospital of Northern B.C. are all experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks

Unit 5A of the heart centre is closed to new admissions or transfers for the time being, according to a Vancouver Coastal Health statement Tuesday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared at St Paul's Hospital, Chilliwack General Hospital, and the University Hospital of Northern B.C.

The Vancouver Coastal Health authority says it is in the process of contacting the families of patients at St. Paul's Hospital after an unknown number of patients in its heart care centre tested positive for COVID-19.

Officials declared an outbreak in Unit 5A of the heart centre and closed it to any new admissions or transfers for the time being, according to a Vancouver Coastal Health statement Tuesday.

The VCH authority said no visitors are allowed into the centre until the outbreak measures have been lifted, with the exception of family visiting loved-ones at the end of life. 

Other areas of St. Paul's remain open and are able to safely receive and care for patients requiring urgent care, and there is no impact to other areas of the hospital, it said.

St. Paul's Hospital has been the site of several COVID-19 outbreaks since the pandemic began, including in September in the Urban Health Unit, and this summer in the neo-natal care unit.

The heart centre is where the hospital provides treatment, prevention and reversal of heart conditions, including surgery, transplants and rehabilitation, according to the St. Paul's Hospital website.

Health officials say the oubreak is confined to the heart centre and other areas of the hospital, including urgent care, remain open (Ben Nelms/CBC)

On Tuesday afternoon, Fraser Health issued a statement saying an outbreak has been declared at Chilliwack General Hospital after evidence of transmission in a medical unit.

The statement said that one patient has tested positive for COVID-19 and contact tracing is currently underway to determine if there has been further transmission.

The outbreak is limited to one of the hospital's medical units, and that unit is temporarily closed to admissions. The hospital, including the emergency department, remains fully operational.

Fraser Health has notified all patients and patient family members in the affected unit about the outbreak, and Chilliwack General Hospital says it is working with essential visitors on a case-by-case basis.

In Prince George, Northern Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak in the rehabilitation unit of the University Hospital of Northern B.C.

One person in the unit tested positive for COVID-19, and monitoring and testing is underway to identify any additional cases.

There is currently no sign of ongoing transmission in the unit, but recently discharged clients are being told to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.

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