By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
With three patients testing positive, Northumberland Hills Hospital announces a COVID-19 outbreak in Unit 1A, the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit.
Visiting will continue as usual outside 1A unless patients are in isolation for COVID-19 infection or exposure, the announcement said, with limited exceptions possibly made for COVID-19-positive patients in discussion with Infection Prevention and Control staff and the care team in certain circumstances (such as imminent end of life).
NHH reiterated the infection-prevention and -control measures now in place in addition to the closure of 1A to all new admissions.
Daily self-screening for symptoms by staff – All individuals entering the hospital for work must pre-screen for symptoms and refrain from entering the building (or Community Mental Health offices) should symptoms develop.
Mandatory use of appropriate PPE in clinical and patient-care areas – All staff, physicians, midwives and essential caregivers and visitors are expected to adhere strictly to Personal Protective Equipment requirements throughout the hospital. The masking policy remains in effect for all clinical and patient-care areas, and visitors continue to have access to free masks at hospital entrances (and at Community Mental Health offices). They will be expected to keep masks on at all times while inside clinical areas.
No eating or drinking is permitted by visitors in patient rooms – This is due to the fact that masks are not to be removed.
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), and boosters continue to be distributed to further reduce the risk of infection and spread.
Strict adherence to thorough hand-hygiene practices – This will continue to be reinforced.
Enhanced environmental cleaning – Enhanced cleaning will be undertaken, with a focus on equipment shared among patient rooms.
Proactive communication – Public notices are continually updated across NHH’s communication channels, including doorways within and leading to the hospital, to promote awareness of the presence of COVID and the importance of vigilance with PPE.
For details on visiting guidelines, including options and answers to other frequently asked questions, visit the NHH website, where updates on the hospital’s COVID status will continue to be communicated.
Community outbreak information will be found on the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit’s Respiratory Diseases Dashboard, which provides a high-level assessment of local respiratory virus activity.