COVID-19 outbreak declared in Chatham hospital’s Medicine Unit

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

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak in the Medicine Unit of the hospital in Chatham.

A release from the CKHA said as of May 11, 2021, two patients there had received positive test results for COVID-19, triggering the outbreak declaration.

Chatham-Kent Public Health officials are reaching out to any patients and families that may be affected by the outbreak. They will be conducting contact tracing and informing individuals who may have been exposed of any measures they should take.

The outbreak can be declared “over” once the CKHA reaches 14 days from the last case of transmission or from the day the outbreak was declared.

The declaration means there will be some stricter infection prevention and control guidelines in place temporarily, including a ban on visitors/care partners for patients in the Medicine Unit.

Officials at the CKHA said visitors will still be allowed in other areas of the hospital, though. The CKHA’s Essential Visitor and Care Partner Access policy will remain in Phase 3 “Green” and a release from the CKHA added that “there is no change to care partner access for end-of-life patients on the outbreak unit and other exceptions may be permitted through the established visitor restrictions appeals process.”

Hospital officials are also reminding the community that the hospital is still a safe place to receive care and that anyone who needs emergency care should not hesitate to dial 911 or visit the nearest Emergency Department.

The Director of Communications at the hospital Fannie Vavoulis reported 16 COVID-19 patients at the hospital on Wednesday, three more than on Tuesday. Vavoulis said 10 of the COVID-19 patients are residents of Chatham-Kent and six are not. She added one of the COVID-19 patients is on a ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the 10 bed ICU is 90 per cent full. The medical, surgical, and critical care unit is at 84.1 per cent occupancy. Vavoulis also reported that the hospital has six transfer patients from outside of the area because those hospitals need the space.

Chatham-Kent Public Health reported five new cases and two resolved cases on Wednesday to bring the total number of active cases up to 35.