Toronto Western Hospital declares another COVID-19 outbreak

The outbreak is "not a surprise given our approach to mass testing," says hospital vice-president.

'This outcome is not a surprise given our approach to mass testing,' says hospital vice-president

The hospital near Bathurst and Dundas streets declared four other COVID-19 outbreaks in April. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Toronto Western Hospital has declared another outbreak of COVID-19, but says it's not surprising after the hospital started testing all patients and staff last week.

The hospital, near Bathurst and Dundas streets, previously declared four other COVID-19 outbreaks, the first on April 18 and three others on April 30.

A spokesperson could not provide the number of new cases, saying testing continues. There have been 83 positive tests from staff members across the University Health Network from January to May 4, with 63 people fully recovered, said Gillian Howard, vice-president of public affairs and communications with the University Health Network. 

After the previous outbreaks, the hospital said a total of 19 patients and 46 staff had tested positive.

The hospital declares an outbreak when one patient tests positive.

Staff were told in a memo Saturday that there was an outbreak in a COVID-19 negative unit, 9A. The unit is now closed to new patients.

"This outcome is not a surprise given our approach to mass testing," said Janet Newton, vice president and site lead at Toronto Western, in the memo

All staff were told to start wearing masks at all times, except when eating or drinking.

Howard says they believe Toronto Western is doing the most testing of any hospital in the country. She says about three per cent of all tests done on staff come back positive.

The hospital has between 70 and 85 COVID-19 patients admitted for care with the virus at any given time, Howard noted.