Hospital Says the Outbreak is Over; Public Health Warns No Easter Parties

Last week, the Globe and Mail noted that the Guelph General Hospital had been hit the hardest among all of Ontario’s hospitals in terms of staff infected by COVID-19. The week before that, Guelph General announced that there was an outbreak in one of their wards that precipitated the announcement of State of Emergency in Guelph. This Thursday, according to the Hospital, the outbreak is over.

In a statement from the Hospital, the administration has announced that following a consultation with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, the outbreak of COVID-19 in the east ward of the fourth floor has been declared over. It’s been 14 days since the last “hospital-acquired, COVID-positive patient” was put in isolation.

“This is some good news in this challenging time,” said Marianne Walker, President and CEO of Guelph General Hospital in a statement. “Full credit goes to the expertise and teamwork of hundreds of staff to bring this outbreak to a close.”

With one outbreak over, the Hospital is now working hard to make sure that a new one doesn’t occur. All precautions and protocols, including a no visitors policy, active staff screening before shifts and the cancellation of elective surgeries and procedures, will remain until further notice.

“By no means can we let down our guard. COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across the world and in some places overwhelming health care systems and hospitals,” Walker added. “Here, it’s only by us continuing to do everything we can to maintain best practices in infection control along with the combined efforts of the community at large that we will keep our patients and our staff safe and protected.”

Public Health has identified 37 cases in its coverage area that can be tied to “institutional outbreaks.” Presently, COVID-19 cases are being monitored in Guelph General, Homewood, Norfolk Manor, and St. Joeseph’s Health Centre, along with Dufferin Oaks in Shelburne, Headwaters Health Centre in Orangeville, and Wellington Terrace in Fergus

As conditions improve at the Hospital, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health is reminding everyone that the Easter long weekend is no time to ease up on social distancing.

“Easter, Passover and Ramadan are important faith and family events particularly during these extraordinary times,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health and the CEO of Public Health in a statement. “Please don’t gather with anyone outside of those currently living in your home. Connect using online and social media venues. If we follow social distancing and avoid gatherings, we will all be able to celebrate faith and family in the future.”

Public Health’s COVID-19 call centre will be operating on adjusted hours over the long weekend from 9 am to 3 pm on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. All essential Public Health services, including outbreak management and contact tracing, will continue over the weekend. The COVID-19 assessment clinic at the Victoria Road Recreation Centre will also remain open all weekend from 8 am to 8 pm.

According to Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, there are 127 cases of COVID-19 in their coverage area with 59 in Guelph, 20 in Wellington County, and 42 in Dufferin County. Their numbers were last updated at 1 pm on Thursday.

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