3 Toronto hospitals declare COVID-19 outbreaks after multiple units see positive cases

Toronto Western Hospital confirmed at least nine cases of the novel coronavirus in their facility, while St. Joseph's Health Centre is currently reporting 20, and CAMH is reporting two.

St. Joseph's Health Centre, Toronto Western Hospital, CAMH all reporting cases in patients, staff

Toronto Western Hospital, located near Bathurst and Dundas streets, declared its first COVID-19 outbreak back in April. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Three Toronto hospitals have declared COVID-19 outbreaks as the city continues to record high case numbers. 

A hospital announces an outbreak status when a unit has reported at least two COVID-19 cases within a 14-day period and where both cases could likely have been acquired at the hospital.

On Sunday, Toronto Western Hospital confirmed at least nine cases of the novel coronavirus in their facility after three patients and six staff members tested positive for the infection.

The cases were also reported from two different units. 

"One of the units cares for patients with the virus, but these cases are possibly hospital-acquired," said UHN spokesperson Gillian Howard. 

Howard said the hospital has been swabbing staff and patients in both units since Thursday.

The hospital, near Bathurst and Dundas Streets, has previously declared several other COVID-19 outbreaks, with the first on April 18, and multiple others in the weeks following. 

St. Joseph's confirms 4 units with COVID-19

St. Joseph's Health Centre is also "managing a significant number" of confirmed COVID-19 cases, with four units currently under an outbreak status, Unity Health spokesperson Robyn Cox confirmed.

As of Sunday morning, the hospital confirmed 20 cases of the virus in their facility. The hospital admitted 16 patients into their COVID-19 unit, seven of which are attributed to their outbreak, while 13 staff members also tested positive for the virus. 

The hospital has now closed the affected units to new admissions and are "further enhancing [their] cleaning and infection control procedures."

As of Saturday, St. Joseph's Health Centre revised their visitor policy. Only two visits per week are allowed for certain "named" essential care workers and some exceptions for women in labour, palliative and pediatric patients.

"This change is out of an abundance of caution to keep our people, patients and visitors safe," said Cox. 

CAMH reports outbreak following 2 patient cases

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has also declared an outbreak at their Queen Street site after two patients tested positive for COVID-19. 

The hospital said they have implemented standard infection prevention and control procedures for respiratory outbreaks including closing the unit to admissions and transfers.

"We continue to remain vigilant about policies and procedures to keep staff and patients safe and we are working with our partners at Toronto Public Health on reporting, surveillance, and infection control," CAMH wrote in a statement. 

With the current restrictions in place, Toronto Mayor John Tory said he hopes COVID-19 case counts will decline. 

"[Our medical officer of health] told us it was only a matter of time before it spread back from a younger population into the elderly, the long term care homes and then ultimately into places like the schools," he said.

"The measures that were taken, measures which I supported, were measures to stop that, so we could keep the schools open, keep the long-term care residences safe and I hope that's working."