St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto says it is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak in its emergency department, but the hospital remains open to those needing care.
“As of this morning (Oct. 20), there are five active COVID-19 positive staff related to this outbreak. No patient cases have been identified to date,” the downtown trauma centre said in a statement on its website Tuesday evening.
An outbreak is defined as two COVID-19 cases within a 14-day period, where both cases could reasonably have been acquired in hospital.
In its statement, the hospital said it has determined that the risk of patient exposure is low.
“Our Emergency Department remains open and is safe for patients who need emergency care, and the risk of infection in patients is low,” the hospital said.
The statement said the hospital will be reaching out to any patients who had direct contact with any of the affected staff and will advise them of next steps.
“We do encourage patients who visited our Emergency Department in the past two weeks to self-monitor for symptoms and to get tested should any arise,” the statement read.
The hospital said added safety measures currently in place include additional testing of staff, enhanced cleaning and infection control procedures and additional safety precautions for staff and patients.
The hospital said it is strongly urging anyone who needs emergency care to visit St. Mike’s emergency department as they normally would.
A number of other Toronto hospitals, including Toronto Western and St. Joseph’s, are also dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks as Ontario battles a second wave of the virus.
The province reported 821 new infections on Tuesday.