EDMONTON — A hospital in Edmonton is tightening restrictions as COVID-19 cases continue to increase at the facility.
An outbreak at the Misericordia Community Hospital was first declared by Alberta’s chief medical officer of health on June 23 when six patients and two staff on one unit tested positive.
Alberta Health Services said in a news release Monday that there are now 18 patients and 14 staff members with COVID-19. Eight new cases were identified on the weekend.
“Two patients linked to this outbreak have passed away, and our sympathies are with their family members and loved ones at this difficult time,” said the release.
The health authority said the Misericordia, which is run by the Catholic health provider Covenant Health, is closed to new admissions and to transfers of surgical and medicine patients.
EMS personnel will take patients to other hospitals in Edmonton, unless there is an emergency for which the Misericordia is the closest acute-care site.
Officials said women in labour can go to the hospital if it was the planned birth site and day surgeries will still take place. Surgeries requiring an overnight stay will be postponed or completed at another hospital.
They said patients who have tested positive are being cared for together on three units, including the hospital’s designated COVID-19 unit. However, eight units are now included in the outbreak restrictions as a precaution.
Alberta Health Services said the Misericordia is still safe for patients.
“We are taking this situation extremely seriously and have taken swift action,” Dr. David Zygun, medical director for the Edmonton zone, said in the release. “We are taking these significant measures to ensure the safety of patients, staff, physicians, and volunteers.”
Dr. Marcia Johnson, the province’s deputy chief medical officer of health, added that AHS and Covenant Health have brought in aggressive outbreak protocols and are doing widespread testing and contact tracing for patients and staff who might have been exposed.
“Health officials are working around the clock to prevent further spread of this virus,” she said.
On Monday, Alberta reported another 130 COVID-19 cases from the weekend for a total of 8,389. Of those, 607 cases were active, 7,627 people had recovered and 155 had died.
Fifty-seven people were in hospital, six of them in intensive care.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2020
The Canadian Press