British Columbia

COVID-19 outbreak at St. Paul's Hospital neo-natal ICU declared over, says Vancouver Coastal Health

The COVID-19 outbreak that forced the closure of the St. Paul’s Hospital neo-natal intensive care unit nearly two weeks ago has officially been declared over, according to Vancouver Coastal Health authorities.

Outbreak in the neo-natal intensive care unit first declared July 16

The COVID-19 outbreak at the St. Paul's Hospital neo-natal intensive care unit on July 16 was officially declared over on Wednesday, July 28. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

The COVID-19 outbreak that forced the closure of the St. Paul's Hospital neo-natal intensive care unit nearly two weeks ago has officially been declared over, according to Vancouver Coastal Health authorities.

The outbreak of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus was declared over July 28, and the main NICU is now fully open again, according to a statement Wednesday from VCH.

"We thank our families for their patience and kindness through this time," the statement said. "The health and safety of patients and health-care providers remain our utmost priority, and we will continue to work every day to ensure patients receive the care they need."

Health authorities first declared the outbreak inside the Vancouver hospital's NICU on July 16. 

An infant in care had tested positive for COVID-19 but had not shown any signs of illness at the time.

A number of actions were taken to contain the outbreak, including the isolation of identified cases and all potential contacts.

VCH authorities said stringent disinfection protocols were quickly implemented in and around the NICU, as well as monitoring of proper infection, prevention and control practices. 

Authorities said at no time was there evidence of risk to patients elsewhere in the hospital, and the maternity unit, which was never part of the outbreak, had remained open.

However, the hospital has brought in new protocols which require parents visiting babies in the NICU to wear a mask and sign in at the front desk.

"We continue to ask our staff, patients and families to remain vigilant and immediately self-isolate and report any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection," the statement said.

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