Fraser Health has closed Delta Hospital to inpatient admissions as the number of cases associated with an outbreak at the facility topped 35, with seven deaths.
On Monday (Oct. 5), Fraser Health announced that patients will not be admitted to Delta Hospital for the time being in order to further protect them from the risk of transmission of COVID-19, though the hospital’s emergency department remains open for urgent and emergent care and all scheduled surgeries will continue.
“There are inpatients present who will stay where they are, but any new patient who presents to the emergency department who requires admission will be transported to another hospital within the Fraser Health network,” Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin, Fraser Health’s chief medical health officer and vice-president of population health, told media Monday afternoon.
Brodkin confirmed 18 patients and 17 staff associated with the current outbreak have tested positive for COVID-19. All 18 patient cases are associated with transmission in the hospital, however some of the staff cases are due to community exposures.
“We are sorting through all of the cases to determine which is which,” Brodkin said.
Fraser Health declared the outbreak at Delta Hospital on Sept. 16 after two patients in a single unit tested positive. The outbreak remains confined to a medicine unit that comprises the hospital’s second floor.
The health authority says enhanced infection prevention and control measures were put in place at the onset of the outbreak and continue to be in place. All appropriate staff, medical staff and patients are being tested, and contact tracing is being carried out to prevent further transmission. Further, the essential visitors policy is being strictly enforced at this time.
To date, seven patients associated with the outbreak have died.
“Our sincerest condolences for those that have lost their loved ones,” said Fraser Health president and CEO Dr. Victoria Lee.
“We know that this continues to be a difficult time for everyone as we respond to COVID-19. For families that have their loved ones in long-term care or hospitals, and our teams that are working hard to provide the necessary care and to protect our patients, we’d like to acknowledge all of the sacrifices that the families and their loved ones are making during this challenging time, as well as the dedication and commitment of our health-care providers and leaders and those that are behind the scenes as well. We appreciate everyone’s vigilance as well and commitment to our strong public health measures so we can bend the curve again.”
Brodkin said the patients who died were “almost entirely older patients with multiple core morbidities who had other health issues in addition to COVID-19.”
“We appreciate that this has been a very difficult time for everyone, for the patients themselves who have become sick and their families, and acknowledge that it has been a tough go.”
In her afternoon COVID-19 briefing to media Monday afternoon, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry described the situation at Delta Hospital as a “very challenging outbreak.”
Henry said a number of different factors have led to the spread of the illness, even with all the extra layers of protection in place.
“Like how it often happens, it is unrecognized cases that likely spread [the virus],” she said, citing ongoing transmission in a number of different settings to — and between — health care workers.
— with files from Ashley Wadhwani