BHB Confirms Two Patient Cases in Long Term Care Area

Thursday 24 December 2020: BHB is today confirming an evolving issue in one of its long term care areas, where two patients have tested positive for COVID-19. All staff and patients are being tested, and testing will be completed today. BHB stopped visiting for all long term care patients at MWI and KEMH last week, before these positive cases were confirmed. One patient has symptoms and the other is asymptomatic.

CEO & President, Dr Mike Richmond, says: “We are doing all we can to support our patients and staff, and we are following strict processes for an outbreak in partnership with the Ministry of Health to investigate and contact trace anyone who may have had an exposure. Testing of all staff and patients on the unit is well underway, and we expect everyone will have been tested by end of today. It is too early to know how the outbreak started, but the work is underway to fully understand and contain it. We had started regular surveillance testing of our long term areas – meaning a programme of testing rather than testing due to a suspected infection – something we were in the process of rolling out to the entire organisation. This case, however, was picked up due to a symptomatic patient.

“Our focus remains on caring for the patients and also for our staff as we wait for the findings of the investigation and contact tracing process. We have personal protective equipment requirements and infection control protocols in place for routine patient interactions and in the day to day work environments. However, the standards enforced when a unit goes on isolation brings further levels of protection within the unit and its relationship with the rest of the hospital to maximise the safety of all. We know the precautions work, but this means patients have even greater restrictions. We will do all we can to support them, and encourage remote interactions with their loved ones over the holiday season.”

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