Enteric Outbreak at NHH

In Local

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Northumberland Hills Hospital announces cluster of patients and staff in the Restorative Care Unit with symptoms of an enteric (gastrointestinal) infection.

The hospital team is working with the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit to restrict the spread of the infection and communicate information.

Meanwhile, a number of control measures are in place.

Visitor restrictions on Restorative Care – For the time being, these restrictions are in place, with special exceptions considered on a case-by-case basis. All other areas (including Palliative Care) remain open to visitors outside the requirements of the on-going COVID-19 Visitor Policy.

Restriction of new admissions to Restorative Care – Along with a pause on new admissions on this unit, patient transfers to and from other units are postponed for the time being.

Monitoring – NHH’s infection-prevention and -control team is working to ensure any patient who develops a new onset of enteric-infection symptoms (such as nausea, diarrhea and vomiting) is placed on contact precautions.

Contact precautions – All symptomatic patients have been isolated (or co-located) and cared for with appropriate precautions. This includes appropriate use of personal protective equipment, signage posted outside affected patient rooms with vital information, and staff assignments cohorted whenever possible.

Temporary changes to dining services – Restorative Care patients will receive meals in their rooms for the time being, instead of the unit’s communal dining room, to minimize the risk of spread.
Enhanced environmental cleaning – Increased cleaning of the unit (including common areas and any equipment shared among patient rooms) has been implemented.

Strict adherence to thorough hand-hygiene practices – Scrupulous hand hygiene is one of the most important infection-prevention and -control practices for infectious diseases. Strict adherence to thorough hand hygiene with soap and water will continue to be reinforced.

Communication – The family members and loved ones of affected patients have been notified, and public notices have been placed on all appropriate hospital entrances (as well as doorways within and leading to Restorative Care) to promote awareness. Updates will be provided as new information becomes available.

NHH remains fully operational, with programs and services operating as normal. The team asks that everyone be diligent in practicing hand hygiene and infection-prevention and -control practices when visiting the hospital at any time. Frequent hand washing, especially before and after patient contact, is mandatory – and vital to reducing health-care-associated infections.

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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