'Alarming' COVID-19 outbreaks spreading throughout University Hospital

University Hospital continues to be battered by COVID-19 cases, with outbreaks being declared in three more units on Monday.

With outbreaks on several floors and units of University Hospital, admissions have been cancelled

An ambulance crew sanitizes a gurney after taking a patient to University Hospital in London, Ont. (Colin Butler/CBC)

London's University Hospital continues to be battered by COVID-19 cases, with outbreaks being declared in three more units on Monday and the hospital cancelling admissions to all medical floors. 

The Middlesex London Health Unit said one person has died, 16 staff and 18 patients are infected in the outbreak on the general medicine inpatient ward on the hospital's fourth floor.

That outbreak was declared Nov. 10 and is the first in a growing number of outbreaks revealed today. 

"The situation at University Hospital is alarming and additional measures are being implemented to ensure that more people don't become sick," said Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit.

"This is a reminder that COVID can and will strike anywhere if we let our guard down," Mackie said. 

Outbreak locations

In a memo sent to staff, infection prevention and control officials at the London Health Science Centre say the outbreak on the general medicine inpatient floor is being expanded to include the acute medicine unit on the sixth floor, as well as an overflow area.

Officials say the sub-acute medicine unit on the ninth floor and the palliative care and sub-acute medicine unit on the 10th floor are also experiencing outbreaks.

An outbreak on the ninth-floor orthopaedic unit has been ongoing since Nov. 11. The health unit said there are six cases connected with this particular outbreak. 

No admissions 

In a move to curb the spread, MLHU and LHSC have discontinued admissions to all medical floors at University Hospital for the next seven days. The decision, officials say, will be reassessed later this week. 

Other infection control measures include: 

  • Test all patients and all staff on all medical floors
  • Masks required for all patients and staff on all medical floors at all times
  • Quarantine for some staff members to prevent community spread
  • Ensure that a majority of staff working on the fourth floor are not working elsewhere in the hospital

"Outbreak measures will be extended to these patient care zones in partnership with the Middlesex London Health Unit," the internal memo states.

No designated care partners or visitors are permitted on the floors where there are outbreaks. 

23 patients with COVID-19 

The hospital said Monday it has 23 patients with COVID-19 in its hospital, and 19 staffers who have tested positive for the virus. 

Last week, the hospital's CEO scolded staff, asking them to follow proper distancing and masking protocols lest they spread COVID-19 among themselves or to patients. 


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