Latest Hospital Outbreak Over, U of G Keeping Masks

The pandemic continues to affect life here in Guelph and around Ontario (not to mention Canada and the rest of the planet), but it is affecting us a little less today. The latest outbreak at Guelph General Hospital has been officially called off, but across town at the campus of the University of Guelph, the continued spread of COVID-19 has forced the school’s administration to halt a planned end to certain mandates.

A press release sent out on Thursday afternoon announced the official end of the fifth COVID-19 outbreak at Guelph General Hospital so far this year. All told, there were four patients who tested positive in this outbreak on 4 West, resulting in a nine-day quarantine period since this outbreak of was first declared on April 5. Visiting privileges are being restored to the unit just in time for the Easter long weekend.

“The Hospital will continue its measures to protect patients and staff from COVID. These include making sure everyone in the building is wearing hospital-provided masks, limiting the number of visitors and requiring visitors to provide proof of vaccination,” the hospital said in a statement.

Although there’s no present outbreaks in the hospital, they’ve still got COVID issues. According to the hospital website, there are presently 32 staff members with COVID and another 14 awaiting test results. Even without an outbreak, there are still seven patients in the hospital with COVID-19, more than half of the total 13 patients currently in acute care region-wide.

In terms of institutional outbreaks in the rest of the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health coverage area, there are two new outbreaks at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, so far one member of staff and a patient have been infected in the 2 East unit, and two patients have been infected in the 3 West unit. There’s also still an outbreak in effect at the Village of Riverside Glen (six patients), Homewood (nine patients) and Norfolk Manor (two staff members and eight patients). Five other long-term care homes in the region also have outbreaks right now.

With all this COVID-19 going around in the community, it should come as no surprise that the University of Guelph has announced that they’re pausing the plan to end mask mandates on campus on May 1. The originally announced plan was to lift those mandates the the end of the winter semester, which is April 30, and while the vaccination and screening policies are still up on May 1, masks will still be required for indoor settings indefinitely.

“We will review our mask requirement regularly, taking into consideration changing public health trends. An update will be provided when our mask requirement changes. As we have seen with transmission peaks and valleys over the past two years, we can expect that the University’s mask requirements will vary over time,” said a join statement from U of G president Charlotte Yates and vice-president (academic) Gwen Chapman.

There were 88 new cases of COVID-19 in Wellington, Dufferin and Guelph on Thursday, which helped boost the total number of active cases in the region back up to 677. Also up were the number of local COVID-19 fatalities, two more people have passed away from the virus to bring that total up to 160 since the start of the pandemic. The 7-day moving rate is also up, and it now sits at 162.5 per 100,000 and the test positivity rate is 22.4 per cent.

In Guelph, 92.7 per cent have one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 90 per cent have two shots, and 61.1 per cent have a booster.

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