COVID-19 outbreak at Chatham hospital declared over

The main entrance sign at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. (File photo by Jake Kislinsky)

The COVID-19 outbreak at the Chatham hospital is over.

The outbreak at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance’s (CKHA) Medicine A/B Unit began on January 29, 2021 but was declared over by the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit (CKPH) on Wednesday.

“CKHA would like to thank CKPH for their guidance and support during this outbreak, and the hospital’s staff and physicians for their continued commitment to providing safe, high quality care under these difficult circumstances,” said CKHA in a statement. “The organization would also like to thank patients, families and care partners for their understanding during this time.”

Hospital officials said infection prevention and control measures will remain in place across the organization and CKHA will continue to review and monitor the impact of the pandemic on its operations. Visitor restrictions will remain in place for now and only essential care partners are permitted for inpatients at this time.

CKHA CEO Lori Marshall said that there are two COVID-19 patients at the Chatham site and one of them is on a ventilator. She added none of them are linked to the outbreak and neither is a Chatham-Kent resident.

The local health unit also reported on Thursday no new COVID-19 cases or resolved cases. The number of active cases remains at 17.

Meanwhile, Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby revealed the first variant case found in Chatham-Kent a couple of weeks ago may not have been an active or variant case after all. Colby said the man, who was visiting the area from another country, tested positive for the virus but it probably turned out to be the end of another infection that was picked up by the tests.

“Unless you have complete viruses there you can’t do whole genome sequencing of fragments,” he said. “They did have the sequence that would lead us to be concerned but the lack of whole genome sequencing data leads me to suspect that they were probably picked up on the test at the tail end as an old infection that was sustained outside of Canada and they were never a hazard here in the first place.”

Colby was expecting genome sequencing test results of the man last week but has yet to receive them. Colby said the man’s quarantine is over and he is no longer an active case.