COVID-19 outbreak declared in Winnipeg HSC unit after 7 patients test positive

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre, CBC News has confirmed.

CBC News obtained an internal memo about an outbreak in Unit A4 at the HSC. A spokesperson from Manitoba Shared Health confirmed the outbreak Wednesday night, saying seven patients are confirmed positive COVID-19 cases.

“Enhanced infection prevention and control measures have been implemented, staff and families are being notified and an investigation is underway, which will include any necessary contact tracing,” the spokesperson said in an email.

“Patient movement on the unit has been restricted, specimens have been collected from all patients on the unit and patients will be monitored daily for symptoms consistent with COVID-19.”

Staff wear “universal personal protective equipment,” so the risk of staff members having to self-isolate is considered low, the spokesperson added.

A4 is the HSC’s general medicine unit, but nurses there also care for patients with gastrointestinal diseases and conditions, oncology (cancer treatment), nephrology (kidneys), immunocompromised and hepatology patients, according to a document that explains the services and units at the hospital.

The internal memo warned staff to “look for the precaution signs” and wear all of the appropriate personal protective equipment before entering the unit.

Staff are also being asked to go through the main entrance of the unit located in the general hospital, because there may not be PPE stations at the other two unit entrances, the memo says.

The HSC is now the third hospital in Winnipeg with active COVID-19 outbreaks.

St. Boniface Hospital and Victoria General Hospital both declared outbreaks last month.

The HSC had an outbreak in March that infected more than two dozen people, and resulted in the deaths of two patients.

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