Northern Health Medical Health Officers have declared a COVID-19 outbreak on the Primary Care Medical Unit (PCMU) at the University Hospital of Northern BC (UHNBC) in Prince George, following lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 among patients and staff.
Nine patients and one staff member have tested positive for COVID-19 in connection with the outbreak, and monitoring and testing is underway to identify any additional cases, noted NH in a news release on the outbreak.
NH said enhanced outbreak control measures are in place at UHNBC. The facility is taking steps to protect the health of staff and those they care for, with enhanced outbreak precautions such as (but not limited to):
Increased frequency of cleaning and infection control measures
Enhanced symptom monitoring among all PCMU staff and patients
Limiting movement of staff and patient between care areas of the hospital
Restricting the unit to essential visitors only.
“Public health officials will be monitoring the situation carefully over coming weeks and will only declare the outbreak over when they are confident that chains of transmission have been stopped,” noted NH.
Last week, B.C.’s health ministry was starting to transfer severely ill COVID-19 patients from the Northern Health region to southern hospitals to deal with significantly higher rates of infection and the pressure on smaller facilities.
“The north is being overstretched by COVID-19,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said despite high vaccination rates in communities such as Kitimat, Terrace, Nisga’a and Haida Gwaii.
– With a file from Tom Fletcher.