2 new COVID-19 outbreaks declared at Misericordia hospital in Edmonton

Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been declared in two units at the Misericordia Community Hospital in west Edmonton, Alberta Health Services said Thursday.

Eight patients, three health-care workers test positive

Two new outbreaks of COVID-19 have been identified at the Misericordia Community Hospital in west Edmonton. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been declared in two units at the Misericordia Community Hospital in west Edmonton, Alberta Health Services said Thursday.

Eight patients and three health-care workers have tested positive, AHS said. Another 29 health-care workers are in isolation.

As officials investigate how the outbreak started, they say they learned a lot from an outbreak at the hospital earlier in the summer.

"We're going to get epidemiology assessment of that in the short term," Dr. Owen Heisler, chief medical officer of Covenant Health, said Thursday. "We're starting that investigation to try and find out where they came from."

More outbreaks are expected, added Dr. David Zygun, Edmonton zone medical director with AHS.

"Given it is increasing in our community, we do expect that that will result in ongoing outbreaks in our facilities," Zygun said. 

"Vigilance will be very important to maintain, especially over this upcoming long weekend."

The earlier Misericordia outbreak, which began June 20, was linked to 58 cases and 11 deaths. In its response to a "full facility outbreak," the hospital temporarily closed its doors to incoming patients on July 8. 

As of Aug. 14, that outbreak was considered over. 

AHS said in a Thursday statement that contract tracing continues with the current outbreak and the situation is being closely monitored.

"Enhanced screening measures among patients and unit health-care workers have been implemented, and the hospital has increased infection prevention and control measures on the units to further ensure the continued safety of all patients and health-care workers."

All patients on the affected units have been tested, as have all staff who either worked on the units or were present on them, even if they are not showing symptoms, AHS said.

Visitation to these units is being temporarily restricted. Family members of patients are being encouraged to meet with patients virtually.

The Misericordia's emergency department remains open and there is no impact to all other services at the hospital, AHS said.

Health officials said changes implemented after the first outbreak included closer monitoring of how staff move around the building and enhanced screening and cleaning protocols.

Meanwhile, Calgary's Foothills Hospital is continuing to deal with an outbreak. As of Monday, a total of 80 patients, staff and visitors had tested positive for COVID-19, and seven units were battling outbreaks, including two cardiac care wards and a cardiac intensive care unit.


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