Saint-Jérôme hospital suspends visits due to COVID-19 outbreak
CISSS des Laurentides allows only one visitor at a time in specific cases
Public health officials have banned most visitors from entering the Saint-Jérôme regional hospital for an indefinite period due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
The decision to keep all but a handful of visitors out was made for the "health and safety of the most vulnerable people," according to a statement issued Friday by the regional health authority, CISSS des Laurentides.
The hospital in Saint-Jérôme, Que., is located about 60 kilometres north of Montreal.
One visitor at a time will be allowed for end-of-life care patients and palliative care patients, the statement says. As for the birthing unit, spouses are allowed and one parent can accompany their child to the pediatrics unit.
All exceptions must be authorized by the assistant head nurse and the authorized visitors must respect safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Speaking during a news conference Friday, Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec's public health director, said the goal is to contain any outbreak as quickly as possible.
"Each time we see the numbers go up, we'll ask where, what does it mean?" he said.
Arruda said every outbreak, no matter where it happens, is worrisome.
"All outbreak situations have to be controlled," he said. "Sometimes it's harder because we don't know about it."
Limiting hospital and long-term care home visits was one of the Legault government's early steps in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 back in mid-March.
Some hospitals even banned spouses from attending the birth of their baby. Those strict visitation rules started to be relaxed in early May.