Over 30 health care workers test positive for COVID-19 as pressure mounts on Mississauga’s hospitals

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Although Trillium Health Partners (THP) is still carrying out scheduled surgeries and procedures at all of its hospitals (which include Credit Valley Hospital and Mississauga Hospital), the situation is becoming increasingly more difficult as COVID-19 cases rise in Mississauga. 

At a Dec. 9 press conference, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie told reporters that although cases have stabilized in Peel (Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon), the situation in the region's hospitals remains serious. 

"While we’ve seen some promising news, the situation at our hospitals is not getting any better and this is particularly concerning as our hospitals are our last line of defence and protection against this virus," Crombie said, adding that THP is "well above capacity" and is dealing with 88 COVID patients in hospital and 20 in the ICU. 

Crombie said that THP has begun transferring patients to other hospitals and is considering cancelling some elective surgeries. At the same press conference, Peel Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh said that all of Peel's hospitals have had to move some patients into "non-traditional" spaces. 

Earlier this month, the union that represents Peel Paramedics tweeted that paramedics are being forced to unload patients outside of Mississauga Hospital and Credit Valley Hospital instead of in the usual ambulance bays, as the bays are currently being used to treat patients. 

"I’ve been told that the next three to six weeks will be extremely challenging for our hospitals," Crombie told reporters. 

A THP spokesperson said that over the last ten days, 36 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. 

"Transmission has been acquired through a variety of sources, the biggest proportion of which has been through the community. Peel Region continues to see increasing numbers of COVID-19 within the community," Keeley Rogers, a senior communications advisor with THP, said in an email to insauga.com. 

"It is important to note that these 36 cases are not all the result of a hospital unit outbreak. THP has rigorous screening, contact tracing and infection prevention and control measures in place to ensure our hospital remains a safe place to receive care." 

According to THP's website, outbreaks have been reported at both Mississauga Hospital and Credit Valley Hospital. Recently, two patients and one health care worker in the 2J Cardiovascular Unit at Mississauga Hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Late last month, two health care workers in the Cardiac Surgical Intensive Care Unit (CSICU) at the same hospital also tested positive for COVID-19.

At Credit Valley, four patients on 1E Medicine have tested positive for COVID-19. There has also been an outbreak in the hospital's emergency department, as four health care workers tested positive for COVID-19 between Nov. 26 and Dec. 9. 

Rogers told insauga.com that THP staff are screened daily before entering the hospital. 

"If a staff member is showing one or more COVID-19 symptoms or has had close contact with a positive case, they do not report to work. For this reason, many of our health care workers who are currently off for COVID-19 have not been exposed to the hospital or patients while symptomatic or asymptomatic and awaiting testing," she said.  

The number of staff currently recovering from COVID-19 represents approximately 0.3 per cent of THP employees. 

Rogers said that although surgeries are not being cancelled, the situation could change. 

"Surgeries are not being cancelled at this time, but this is dependent on our community’s joint effort to stop the spread." 

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