By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
A cluster of patients with symptoms of enteric infection has been identified on the 2A medical/surgical unit at Northumberland Hills Hospital, forcing measures to restrict further spread.
Working closely with the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit, NHH has put the following control measures in place.
Contact precautions – All identified patients are being isolated and cared for with appropriate contact precautions. Appropriate use of personal protective equipment is required.
New admissions to the affected unit will be restricted – New 2A admissions will be limited to beds that are not in close proximity to the patients exhibiting symptoms, and staff will be cohorted as needed. Patient transfers to and from other units will be postponed for the time being.
Strict adherence to thorough hand hygiene practices – Scrupulous hand hygiene is one of the most important infection-prevention and -control practices to stop transmission of gastrointestinal illness and other infectious diseases. Strict adherence to thorough hand hygiene will continue to be reinforced.
Visitor restrictions to 2A – Visitor restrictions have been put into place for 2A patients for the time being, with special exceptions evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Visiting is not currently affected in other parts of the hospital, outside the requirements of the COVID-19 Visitor Policy.
Enhanced environmental cleaning – Increased cleaning of the unit and increased cleaning of equipment shared among patient rooms has been implemented.
Monitoring – Any patient who develops new onset of certain symptoms – nausea, diarrhea and vomiting – will be placed on contact precautions.
Proactive communication – Public notices have been placed on all appropriate hospital entrances as well as at the doorways within and leading to 2A to promote awareness, with reminders regarding hand hygiene requirements. A Backgrounder detailing Visitor Tips for Minimizing the Spread of Infections is available at www.nhh.ca.
NHH remains fully operational, with programs and services across the hospital operating as before. Visitors are urged to be diligent in practicing appropriate hand hygiene and infection-prevention and -control practices when visiting the hospital at any time. Frequent hand washing, particularly before and after patient contact, is mandatory and vital to reducing health care associated infections.
Updates will be provided as new information is available