Four COVID-19 outbreaks at Toronto Western Hospital, dozens of patients and staff have tested positive
Toronto Western Hospital is shown in this image taken from Google Maps. (Google)
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, May 5, 2020 7:37AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 5, 2020 11:54AM EDT
Four separate COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared at Toronto Western Hospital, affecting dozens of patients and staff.
University Health Network spokesperson Gillian Howard confirmed the outbreaks to CP24 on Tuesday morning.
She said that as of yesterday there have been 79 staff members who have tested positive for the virus at the hospital, all but 16 of which have since fully recovered.
She said that 19 patients have also tested positive for COVID-19 at Toronto Western Hospital, ten of whom remain hospitalized.
The affected units include two COVID-19 specific areas and two other hospital units.
All of the affected units have been closed to new admissions for the time being and have undergone extensive deep cleaning, Howard said.
“These outbreaks speak to the critical importance of physical distancing (wherever possible), proper donning and doffing of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), and hand hygiene,” the hospital said in a memo that was sent to staff on Monday night. “They also reinforce our move to universal masking (March 23) and face shields (April 29).”
The hospital says that it will be conducting voluntary testing on all staff at Toronto Western “in the coming days.”
It also says that it will be moving some urgent and emergent surgeries to Toronto General “’out of an abundance of caution.”
Since the outbreaks were declared on April 18 and April 30, there have been two deaths in patients who had contracted COVID-19 at Toronto Western.
“The situation is stable at this point in time,” CTV infectious disease specialist Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, who works as a physician at Toronto Western Hospital, said on Tuesday. “As you may or may not know, our hospital is in a very unique demographic and catchment area. That includes a lot of homeless shelters, mental health institutions, group homes. And long term care facilities as well. Unfortunately, when you have an influx of patients from all of those it increases the likelihood when co-horted together that you're going to have an outbreak that spreads to staff and other hospital employees.”
Across Toronto, there have been 35 COVID-19 outbreaks reported at hospital units as of May 4. Those outbreaks have involved 297 patient cases and 77 staff cases. There have also been 46 deaths in hospital units experiencing outbreaks.
An outbreak is declared whenever there has been two or more confirmed cases in a given facility within 14 days.
The total number of COVID-19 positive patients in hospitals across the University Health Network is 78. Thirty of those people are currently in intensive care units.