A second Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) staff member has tested positive for COVID-19.
The individual was working in the hospital on Thursday night (November 5-6), Saturday night (November 7-8) and Sunday night (November 8-9) and attended the hospital briefly between the hours of approximately 4 PM and 5:30 PM on Friday, November 6. As with the first positive case, the individual is now at home on self-isolation.
As per the provincial guidance documents, this second case has prompted the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit to declare a facility-wide outbreak at the hospital. Under province guidelines, an outbreak is to be declared at a hospital when there are two or more confirmed cases, and it is determined the exposure occurred at the facility.
“Although we have not seen many cases in our area like some areas of the province, we are starting to experience an increase,” says Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, Medical Officer of Health for the HKPR District Health Unit. “This is especially troubling, given we are moving into the holiday season and winter months when we typically see respiratory illness create burdens for our health care system and partners.”
To help combat further spread, Dr. Noseworthy urges everyone to follow the public health guidelines of wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, maintaining physical distancing and staying home if ill.
As part of the outbreak, staff from NHH are working closely with the Health Unit to ensure all outbreak control measures are implemented.
“It remains safe to attend the hospital for care as required,” said Linda Davis, President and CEO. “Our Occupational Health and Safety office is working closely with local public health colleagues and regional infectious disease experts to minimize any risk. Contact tracing is in progress for any patients, staff and physicians who may have come into contact with the individual and instructions on any actions required will be made directly by local Public Health and/or NHH Occupational Health/Infection Prevention and Control. Anyone who may have come into contact with the individual has been or will soon be notified with instructions to self-monitor for any symptoms and, as directed, self-isolate and seek testing. A small number of inpatients have been isolated as a precaution and enhanced cleaning of the areas of the hospital where the individual was working has been completed.
At a staff forum earlier today staff members and physicians were once again reminded of the importance of continuing to adhere to the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) at all time, to stay home from work if feeling ill and to seek testing as appropriate.