13 Windsor Regional Hospital staff caught COVID-19 in the community, not from patients

So far, 13 Windsor Regional Hospital staff have caught COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic, but it was from community exposure — not patients, says the hospital.

One staff member was assigned to the St. Clair Sportsplex assessment centre

Medical staff work at a computer terminal as they prepare for the opening of a COVID-19 assessment centre. One of the 13 WRH staff members who was infected with the novel coronavirus worked at the St. Clair Sportsplex assessment centre, says hospital CEO David Musyj. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

So far, 13 Windsor Regional Hospital staff have caught COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic, but it was from community exposure — not inside the hospital, says administration.

The staff infection rate was released Thursday night at the hospital's monthly board meeting. 

It's an update from numbers in May, when CEO David Musyj said four staff and one physician had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 

"A staff overall of 5,000 to 5,500 and — knock on wood — only 13 of them have tested positive," Musyj told the board, including nurses, physicians and housekeeping staff. 

Most of the cases came in the early months of the pandemic, with one or two in the months of July or August. 

Musyj said highly-detailed contact tracing, conducted by the hospital, has them "99 per cent positive" staff were infected in the community, and there had no cases spread between staff or from staff to patients. 

"And that's because our staff are protecting themselves, they're protecting each other and they're protecting the patients," said Musyj.

By comparison, according to numbers complied by the Ontario Health Coalition as of May 5, 39 staff at London Health Sciences Centre's University Hospital had come down with COVID-19. 

Toronto Western Hospital, meanwhile, had four outbreaks within the hospital, which infected 79 staff and 19 patients. Trillium Health Partners' Mississauga Hospital had 3 outbreaks with 85 infected staff and 10 patients. 

Hospital CEO David Musyj applauds staff at Windsor General Hospital for diligently sticking to PPE protocols. While 13 staff members have come down with the virus since March, none contracted or spread the virus in-hospital, he said. (Alex Brockman/CBC)

Case at COVID-19 testing centre

One of the 13 cases was a staff member working at the COVID-19 testing centre at the St. Clair Sportsplex. 

The staff member stopped coming into work once they were symptomatic, got tested and tested postitive. 

"The concern was, we have 80 staff members working there, in an all-COVID area. And we thought: 'Uh oh. What's going on? Hopefully this in not the start of something,'" recalled Musyj. 

All 80 staff members were tested, "a couple of times" and each of them tested negative. 

Odds are, Musyj said, the staff member was unknowingly infectious while at work, but because they followed PPE protocols, the virus didn't spread to their peers. 

"That's kudos to the whole team," said Musyj.


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