By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has declared the COVID-19 outbreak on the Restorative Care Unit (1B) – officially declared on Sept. 20 – is now over.
Effective immediately, regular visiting guidelines will resume unless a patient is in isolation for a COVID-19 infection or exposure.
In the announcement, Manager of Occupational Health and Infection Control Ellen Douglas expressed gratitude to the NHH team “for their persistence to deliver safe and exceptional patient care amidst this latest COVID-19 outbreak.
“Diligent use of masking from our visitors is crucial in mitigating the risk of infection. Once again, we are reminding visitors to remain masked while inside the hospital and especially during visits to patient rooms. The consumption of food or drinks in a patient’s room is prohibited, as it requires visitors to remove their masks, increasing the risk of new infections and further outbreaks,” Douglas pointed out.
“Please help us continue to keep everyone at NHH safe.”
As a reminder to all, the following is a summary of the infection prevention and control measures that remain in place at NHH.
Daily self-screening by staff for COVID-19 symptoms – All individuals entering the hospital for work must pre-screen for symptoms and refrain from entering the building or community mental health offices in the event symptoms develop.
Mandatory use of appropriate PPE – All staff, physicians, midwives and essential caregivers/visitors are expected to pay strict attention to Personal Protective Equipment requirements throughout the hospital, and NHH’s universal masking policy remains in effect.
Cohorting of patients considered “high risk contacts” – Any patients identified as having a high risk of exposure have been co-located into the same area, tested and cared for with appropriate precautions.
Mandatory vaccination of staff – All staff and physicians are required to be up to date with their vaccines (two doses). Booster vaccines continue to be distributed to further reduce the risk of infection and spread.
Strict adherence to thorough hand hygiene practices – Strict adherence to thorough hand hygiene will continue to be reinforced.
Enhanced environmental cleaning – This means enhanced cleaning, with a focus on equipment shared among patient rooms.
Proactive communication – Public notices are continually updated across NHH’s communication channels, including on doorways within/leading to the hospital, to promote awareness of the presence of COVID-19 and the importance of vigilance with PPE.
As a hospital is a high-risk setting, NHH’s universal masking policy remains in place, both throughout the hospital and Community Mental Health offices. Visitors continue to have access to free masks on entry to the hospital and NHH’s Community Mental Health offices, with dispensers at all public entrances augmenting the support by NHH Auxiliary volunteers who have done an exceptional job of helping distribute masks and remind incoming patients and visitors of the importance of PPE.
Visitors will be expected to keep their medical-grade mask on at all times (or over top of their personal cloth mask) while inside, unless eating or drinking in designated areas. This emphatically excludes patient rooms, as masks would have to be removed.
For details on NHH’s Visiting Guidelines and expectations, including virtual visiting options and answers to other Frequently Asked Questions, visit the NHH website.
Updates on NHH’s COVID-19 status will continue to be communicated through the hospital’s website and related social media channels. Community outbreak information will be found on the health unit’s recently updates Respiratory Diseases Dashboard, which provides a high-level assessment of local respiratory virus activity.