The Misericordia hospital in Edmonton is closed to patients due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
On Wednesday morning, the Misericordia Community Hospital stopped admitting new patients and cancelled all scheduled surgeries as the hospital moved into a full facility outbreak.
Some 20 patients and 15 staff members tested positive as of Wednesday, and three patients linked to the outbreak have died.
The patients who died are confirmed to be two men in their 70s and one man in his 80s.
Dr. David Zygun, the Edmonton zone medical director for AHS said they went into a full facility outbreak to reduce more transmission. That means they aren't admitting any new patients or doing surgeries, although the patients who are currently at the hospital will continue to receive care.
“We took this measure to reduce the risk of further transmission and to allow this facility to focus on the staff, patients and physicians there,” Zygun said.
Zygun said he couldn’t say where the outbreak started but noted it was in “medicine wards.”
“Many times in these outbreaks, we don’t identify one exact cause, but Covenant Health and AHS is working together on this investigation, which includes a look at all aspects.”
Zygun said ongoing transmission means the full facility outbreak is necessary to protect patients and staff and to ensure the outbreak can be managed efficiently and effectively.
Patients who have already been admitted and have tested positive for COVID-19 are being treated in two units within the hospital.
“We cohort these cases so we can take those extra, enhanced PPE precautions,” Zygun said.
“Obviously they need isolation as well, so the isolation protocols are all in effect there and we’re supporting them, again, with additional infection prevention and control resources to ensure that we’re meticulous about our PPE and management of new cases.”
The full facility outbreak includes the emergency department, and patients are asked not to visit the Misericordia and go to another hospital or call 911 if needed.
Patients who are inside the hospital will continue to receive treatment. No visitors will be allowed unless it is an end-of-life situation. Women in labour will be moved to deliver their babies at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital.
Arrangements will be made for women in labour to deliver their babies at Grey Nuns Community Hospital.
Jennifer Henderson is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for Great West Newspapers. Her position is funded by the Government of Canada.