COVID-19 outbreak declared at Mississauga Hospital’s emergency department

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A new COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a hospital in Mississauga.

Two health care workers in the emergency department at Mississauga Hospital (100 Queensway West) tested positive for COVID-19 between May 10 and May 15, Trillium Health Partners (THP) announced on its website. 

Typically, a COVID-19 outbreak is declared when two or more patients and/or staff members within a specified area (such as a unit, floor, or service) are diagnosed within a 14-day period. An outbreak is usually declared when the affected persons could have acquired the infection in the hospital.

THP says that although its investigation and contact tracing does not show a known association between the two cases, it is placing the unit on outbreak out of an abundance of caution.

THP does not believe patients who visited the emergency department are at risk and is encouraging anyone who requires emergency care to visit the hospital.

"As increased personal protective equipment and heightened protective measures are routinely being used with patients in the ED, through contact tracing, at this time we have determined that no ED patients had high-risk exposure during this period," THP wrote on the website.

"The ED remains open and safe for patients and health care workers. We are here to serve the community and urge anyone in need of emergency care not to delay seeking medical attention."

When an outbreak is declared on a unit, additional measures are put into place. These include:

  • Closing the unit to any new admissions
  • Transferring COVID-19 patients to designated units
  • Putting existing unit patients on droplet/contact precautions
  • Monitoring and testing of staff, professional staff and patients regardless of symptoms
  • Contact tracing for possible exposure
  • Limiting staff members who normally work on multiple units to work on one unit only
  • Enhanced cleaning on the unit, and increased education on the use of personal protective equipment, washing of hands and physical distancing
  • Increased hand hygiene audits

THP says rigorous processes are in place to protect patients in the ED including:

  • As per normal processes, all patients are supplied with masks at the entrances and must wear them in the hospital at all times
  • All ED patients will now be placed on droplet/contact precautions which means health care workers will wear gowns, gloves, procedure mask and face shield when interacting with patients. This will ensure health care workers and patients are safe.
  • Increased hand hygiene and personal protective equipment audits
  • Screening of everyone at ED entrances
  • Placing any ED patients who meet the clinical criteria for COVID-19 into separate spaces including the COVID-19 assessment centres and units dedicated exclusively to serving patients with COVID-19
  • Regular cleaning and various measures to encourage physical distancing - including an expanded ED footprint to allow space for more physical distance.

THP has experienced outbreaks in both its Mississauga Hospital and Credit Valley Hospital locations. 

According to the website, three health care workers on the 2B/1 COVID-19 Unit at Mississauga Hospital tested positive for COVID-19 between April 29, 2020, and May 9, 2020. Two of the three cases have a likely epidemiological link and could have been acquired from the hospital and community. 

The website also says that nine health care workers on the 1A COVID-19 Unit at Credit Valley Hospital tested positive for COVID-19 between April 18, 2020, and May 6, 2020. 

For more information on outbreaks, click here.

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