Sunnybrook Hospital declares COVID-19 outbreak in surgical unit
Published Friday, October 23, 2020 6:25AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 23, 2020 9:39AM EDT
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 in one of its surgical units today after five cases of the virus were identified.
In a statement released Friday morning, the hospital, which is located near Bayview and Lawrence avenues, said an initial three cases that were linked to each other were discovered though “regular surveillance.”
The cases, the hospital said, triggered “initial control measures and broader testing” in the unit and two additional cases were subsequently identified.
All of the patients are asymptomatic, according to the hospital, and one has been discharged.
“All outbreak control measures are in place and there has been no transmission to other patient care areas of the hospital,” the statement read.
“Sunnybrook remains open for all scheduled clinics and procedures and emergency visits.”
Six other Toronto hospitals have declared COVID-19 outbreaks.
The Scarborough Health Network said Thursday that six patients in a unit at its general hospital are infected with the virus, and the University Health Network also confirmed that it is responding to an outbreak involving four patients at the musculoskeletal, multisystem and geriatric rehab in-patient unit at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.
An outbreak is defined as two COVID-19 cases within a 14-day period, where both cases could reasonably have been acquired in hospital.
Outbreaks have also been confirmed at St. Michael’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, Toronto Western Hospital, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
Speaking to CP24 on Friday morning, Mayor John Tory said the outbreaks illustrate a need for the city to continue to strictly follow public health measures.
"It is why we can't let off our discipline with respect to all of this," he said.
"An outbreak is defined as two cases or more, so we are not talking here about hundreds of cases, but we are talking about something that is serious because of where it is and we are talking about a virus that is still very much present in our city."
Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said while it is “unfortunate” that hospitals are seeing outbreaks, it should not deter people from going to the hospital if they are in need of care.
“Sometimes people hear about this on the news and they get a bit nervous. They say, ‘Well you know what, there is an outbreak at a hospital. I shouldn't go in.’ And the answer couldn't be farther from the truth,” Bogoch said.
“There are certain protocols in place to keep patients safe so this should not push anyone away from coming to hospital if they need to be here. There were outbreaks with the first wave. We are seeing a few outbreaks with the second wave. They get under control pretty quickly.”
-With files from The Canadian Press