The enteric and COVID-19 outbreaks on Northumberland Hills Hospital’s first floor have been declared over. The enteric outbreak was initially identified on the Restorative Care (1B) unit on Thursday, February 23 and, just one day later, a second outbreak was detected on the adjacent Inpatient Rehabilitation (1A) unit. Further complicating the situation, a COVID-19 outbreak was also declared on 1B Restorative Care alongside the enteric outbreak.
With all outbreaks now resolved, effective today, March 2, regular visiting guidelines have resumed for both units with the exception of individual patients in isolation for a COVID-19 infection or suspected exposure.
The following infection prevention and control measures 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 (PPE) requirements throughout the hospital and NHH’s universal masking policy remains in effect.
- 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.
- Thorough hand hygiene practices – Strict adherence to thorough hand hygiene continues to be reinforced.
- Enhanced environmental cleaning – Enhanced cleaning, with a focus on equipment shared between patient rooms continues.
- 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 continued presence of COVID-19 and the importance of vigilance with PPE.
Universal masking remains a shared responsibility to mitigate spread
As a high-risk setting, NHH’s universal masking policy continues to remain in place throughout the hospital and Community Mental Health offices. Visitors have access to free masks on entry to the hospital and NHH’s Community Mental Health offices and are 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. No eating or drinking is permitted by visitors in patient rooms, due to the fact that masks would need to be removed.
For details on NHH’s Visiting Guidelines and expectations, including options and answers to other Frequently Asked Questions, please see our 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 HKPRDHU’s recently updated Respiratory Diseases Dashboard, which provides a high-level assessment of local respiratory virus activity.