Coronavirus: University Hospital outbreaks may be ‘turning a corner’, authorities say – London

The deadly coronavirus outbreaks at University Hospital (UH) in London, Ont., may be on the road to recovery, but the chief medical officer of the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) says it’s too early to confirm.

Dr. Adam Dukelow spoke during the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU)’s virtual briefing Monday, and said there has been zero COVID-19 cases reported among staff and patients since Saturday.

“This is one of a few signals we may be turning a corner with this outbreak, but we’re not out of the woods,” he said.

“It doesn’t mean things are over, but it is a good sign,” added Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health.

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As of Monday, the outbreaks had impacted a total of 77 patients and 79 staff, according to LHSC.

A total of 15 deaths have been linked to it as well.

The MLHU first declared an outbreak at UH on Nov. 10 in the hospital’s 4IP General Medicine unit. The next day, on Nov. 11, a separate outbreak was declared in 9IP Orthopedics.

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Since then, several other units have experienced outbreaks and nine remain active as of Monday.

By Dec. 2, a total of 10 deaths and more than 100 cases were linked to it.

Soon after, there were rumours that a staff potluck was a source of the outbreaks, but LHSC president and chief executive officer Dr. Paul Woods dispelled them.

“We have thoroughly investigated this claim, and there was no potluck that contributed to the outbreaks,” Woods told reporters on Dec. 4.

However, he did acknowledge there were breaches in PPE use during staff breaks and that physical distancing was not always maintained.

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Dukelow said Monday during the briefing that LHSC has completed prevalence testing for 3,800 staff and patients prior to this past weekend.

Over the weekend, another round of focused prevalence screening was completed, he said.

Staff working on floors with outbreaks have been in a work-quarantine situation, “so the only place they can go is work or to urgent medical appointments and then they are to go home,” Dukelow explained.

“They’ve also been instructed by the health unit to attempt to isolate from their own family members within the home, (but if) there are challenges with quarantine… LHSC is providing hotel rooms for some staff.”

Outbreaks currently remain active in UH’s 10IP Palliative Care/Sub-Acute Medicine, 10th Floor Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, 6IP Acute/Decant Medicine, 6th Floor Cardiac Offices, 8IP General Surgery, 9IP Sub-Acute Medicine, C4-200 – Multi-Organ, U4 Medicine and U-5 Cardiology.

— With files from 980 CFPL’s Matthew Trevithick, Sawyer Bogdan and Jacquelyn LeBel 

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