COVID outbreak declared in the Inpatient Surgery Unit

Tue, 11/21/2023 - 09:23

UPDATE (Nov. 19) - The outbreak is at four (4) cases. It may be declared over November 25 if no new cases arise. Visitor restrictions will remain in effect until then.


In consultation with the Region of Waterloo Public Health, a COVID-19 outbreak has been declared in the Inpatient Surgery Unit (Wing C, level 3). A hospital outbreak is declared when two or more patients and/or staff test positive for an infectious illness that was acquired in hospital within a timeframe that is consistent with the epidemiology of the disease, and when there is a link between the cases.

At this time, the outbreak is limited to three cases (n=3). The Medicine B Unit Outbreak that was declared on Nov. 9 was declared over on Nov. 15. The number of outbreaks is increasing in hospital, congregate and long-term care settings. We urge all visitors to access the Region of Waterloo Public Health site to review all declared COVID outbreaks within the region.

Staff working in the outbreak unit are required to have a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) before starting their shift. This includes staff that have worked on the Inpatient Surgery Unit since the outbreak has been declared and are scheduled in other units. All staff are being asked to review current guidelines on what to do if symptomatic of COVID, which includes contacting Health Safety & Wellness even if the RAT is negative.

The following precautions have been added to enhance safety:  

  • Masks to be worn by staff at all times while in the unit; face shields to be worn within two metres of patients. 
  • All patients will be placed in airborne/droplet/contact precautions; Enhanced surveillance by swabbing and testing non-infected patients every three days until the outbreak is declared over. 
  • Enhanced cleaning, especially to high touch areas. 
  • Visitors are restricted to the unit, with exceptions made to end-of-life situations. Virtual visits and phone connections for patients and families can be arranged. 
  • Signage has been posted at entrances

The outbreak may be declared over on November 22 if no new cases arise.

The safety and wellbeing of our staff, providers and patients is our top priority. Visitors are encouraged to wear a hospital supplied surgical mask, practice physical distancing and clean their hands when they arrive at hospital as a new, highly transmissible variant has proven that anyone can be infectious, even when a person is asymptomatic.