LONDON, ONT -- It's believed to be the first case of a healthcare worker infected by COVID-19 in the St. Thomas region.

On April 13 a female healthcare worker tested positive for the virus at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH).

President and CEO of the hospital, Robert Biron, says the virus was contracted through community transmission.

Biron says the individual immediately notified STEGH and precautions were put in place to limit or stop hospital transmission of the virus.

“What that included is what we refer to as contact tracing, so we identified any staff that this individual was in contact with during her shift as well as any patient this individual cared for.”

The individual is currently self-isolating at home, as are all staff members who had contact with the individual. Patients who may have had contact have been notified.

Biron says the individual last worked on April 11

“This individual had not worked a number of days prior to that…The individual during her shift was wearing protective equipment throughout the entire shift. So we have assessed, based on our understanding of that shift, that the likelihood of in-hospital transmission is low.”

An outbreak of COVID-19 was declared over the weekend at Brantford General Hospital.

Five healthcare workers tested positive for the virus. They’re now at home in self-isolation, and one patient contracted COVID-19.

Dr. David McNeil, head of Brant Community Health Care says as of Monday another patient has been infected as part of the outbreak, bringing the total infections from hospital-wide spread to two.

“Since the declaring of the outbreak we do have an additional patient that has tested positive. It was associated with that outbreak and was a roommate [of the first case identified],” says McNeil.

One of the patients is in critical condition.

McNeil says that all patients and staff members who may have been in contact, have been notified.

“Typically what we do is we have a look back window of 48 hours of time of contact but I can tell you in this particular case we had to look back beyond the 48-hour window we traditionally look at.”

The outbreak is in the Palliative and Complex Care Unit, which is now closed to new admissions, and Brantford General Hospital is taking measures in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

“We’re restricting visitors. We have designated visitors on palliative care units and those visitors have to wear a mask,” says McNeil. “The staff in the organization are all wearing masks now.”

The medical officer of health for Middlesex-London Health Unit, Dr. Chris Mackie, has some advice for front-line health workers.

“We’re doing something like work-home isolation. So rather than just home isolation, where you have an individual who is sick staying at home, those that are working in high-risk settings isolate themselves as much as possible even when they get home.”