There’s no further evidence of transmission of the novel coronavirus at Peterborough Regional Health Centre after three staff members tested positive for COVID-19 last week, the hospital reported Tuesday morning.
Dr. Lynn Mikula, the hospital’s vice-president, chief medical executive and chief of staff, said the three staff members who work in a “patient-care role” on the same unidentified unit remain in self-isolation at home. The initial confirmed case was discovered on April 5.
Mikula said further testing of patients and staff in the unit for COVID-19 – the disease caused by the virus – came back negative.
“There’s been no evidence of transmission from staff to patients, and all of our health-care workers continue to wear the appropriate PPEs [personal protective equipment] in all patient-facing areas,” she said.
Mikula said two patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 remain in the intensive care unit.
“We have not yet seen a surge in COVID-19 patients at the hospital but we are well-prepared in the event that we do,” she said.
Mikula said that while there appears to be some “promising evidence” of a flattening of the case curve, both locally and provincially, she’s not ready to make a prediction on how the situation will unfold.
“I think it’s too early to say whether things are going to get better or worse or stay the same.
“I think we need to continue to watch the situation very closely and hold ourselves in readiness,” she said.
She noted the hospital is currently operating below capacity, enabling the facility to have space in the event of a COVID-19 patient surge. Earlier this month, the hospital opened a 36-bed unit specifically for COVID-19 patients.
“We’re not putting an absolute limit on the number of people we are caring for,” she noted. “We will care for however many people we need to, to the utmost of our ability.”
Since opening in March, the hospital’s COVID-19 assessment centre has tested more than 1,000 people, and receives 20 to 40 patients daily, Mikula said. Plans are underway to expand testing.
She also noted the hospital has not yet received any direction from the Ministry of Health about the potential to use the recently approved rapid COVID-19 tests.
Mikula encourages anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 to call the assessment centre directly at 705-768-5086. Patients can also contact Peterborough Public Health at 705-743-1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mikula also thanked the public for its support for its recent 1,000 Mask Challenge, which saw the public make and donate more than 5,000 handmade masks. They’ll be provided to the visitors and more than 350 patients who visit the hospital daily, Mikula noted.
“This will help us preserve certified personal protective equipment for our health-care workers,” she said.
Patient visitation at the hospital remains limited, and the hospital is only accepting essentials in care packages for patients.
On Monday afternoon, Peterborough Public Health reported there were 54 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its jurisdiction, which includes Peterborough, Peterborough County, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation.
Of the 54 cases, 24 have been declared resolved. One death was reported on Sunday after Dr. George Dimitroff died of COVID-19 complications at Peterborough Regional Health Centre.
Mikula, on behalf of the hospital, sent deep condolences to the Dimitroff family.
“We’re thinking of them at this difficult time,” she said.
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