Outbreak at University Hospital in London, Ont. now includes all medical floors
MIDDLESEX CENTRE, ONT. -- COVID-19 outbreaks in two units at the London Health Sciences Centre's (LHSC) University Hospital have now spread to all medical floors at the hospital, according to the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU).
An email sent to hospital staff said the fourth-floor outbreak in U4 Inpatient Medicine was being extended to U6 Acute/Decant Medicine, U9 Sub-Acute Medicine and U10 Palliative Care/Sub-Acute Medicine. There is also an ongoing outbreak in the hospital's 9IP Orthopaedics unit.
The initial outbreaks in general inpatient medicine and orthopaedics were declared on Nov. 10 and 11, respectively.
The health unit says with the expanded outbreak they are working closely with hospital officials to deal with the "significant" cases among patients and staff.
Of the 18 new cases reported in the region Tuesday, the health unit says 10 are associated with the hospital outbreak.
“The situation at University Hospital is alarming and additional measures are being implemented to ensure that more people don’t become sick,” said MLHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie in a statement. “This is a reminder that COVID can and will strike anywhere if we let our guard down.”
In total, the MLHU says the expanded fourth-floor outbreak has included 16 staff cases, 18 patient cases and been linked with one death, plus there are an additional six cases are connected to the outbreak in orthopaedics.
As of Tuesday, LHSC's website listed 19 staff and 23 inpatients as being positive for COVID-19.
The outbreaks mean changes to visitor policies in those units and the email says "outbreak measures will be extended to these patient care zones."
The health unit says it will continue to monitor the situation and has released a list of recommendations including:
- discontinuing admissions to all medical floors at University Hospital for the next seven days
- test all patients and all staff on all medical floors
- mask all patients and all staff on all medical floors at all times
- work quarantine for appropriate staff, so they are not in close contact with anyone in the community
- ensure that a majority of staff who are working on the fourth floor are not working elsewhere in the hospital
Neil Johnson, Chief Operating Officer at LHSC says the hospital is safe.
“We've taken from day one a lot of different protocols and processes in place to protect our patients and make sure that they're safe when they come here.”
Late last week, LHSC President and CEO Dr. Paul Woods sent a letter to workers calling the staff-to-staff transmission in the hospital "unacceptable."
Union leadership told CTV News that letter left staff feeling angry and humiliated.