Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre Moves to Level Grey – Lockdown

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COVID-19 Outbreak declared on 1A Oncology at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
COVID-19 Outbreak declared on 1A Oncology at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

Thunder Bay – COVID-19 Update – In response to the increase in cases of #COVID19 in our community, combined with the pressures on the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and a COVID-19 outbreak on the 1A Medical Unit, TBRHSC is now in Level Grey (Lockdown).

The health and safety of all staff, professional staff, patients and the community is the utmost priority of Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC).

The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre remains open.

Anyone requiring urgent care should feel safe attending our Hospital or Emergency Department to access that care.

The Virtual Emergency Department is available to provide safe, quality urgent care to qualifying patients from the comfort of their home. Visit www.tbhrsc.net/virtualed for more information.

There are currently 22 intensive care patients admitted to TBRHSC. Of those, 19 are on ventilators.

In addition, due to the outbreak, the 24 beds in the 1A Medical Unit are unavailable for admissions.

Level Grey stimulates actions that increase the availability of critical care service for those in need.

These include:

  • Transferring to southern Ontario of some patients from our ICU to hospitals with more ICU capacity;
  • Diverting to southern Ontario Critical Care patients who would otherwise be transferred from regional communities to our hospital, except those with life and limb needs;>/li>
  • Further reducing elective procedures;
  • Enhanced collaboration with health system partners to transfer patients to other appropriate care locations.

These measures enable the following at TBRHSC:

  • Available space in the ICU to accept patients in need of critical care;
  • Further expansion of the dedicated COVID-19 Care Unit as needed to meet increasing needs;
  • Ensuring the availability of clinical and support staff to work in areas of highest need;
  • Continuation of emergent surgeries;
  • Reduced traffic in the hospital to minimize the risk of spread of infection.

The goal of these efforts is to ensure that the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre remains a safe place for people to access urgent care.

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre confirms today an outbreak of COVID-19 is declared on our 1A Medicine unit. The health and safety of all staff, professional staff, patients and the community is our utmost priority.

The decision to declare or end an outbreak is made in collaboration with Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU). The Ontario Ministry of Health defines a COVID-19 outbreak in a public hospital as: Two or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases (patients and/or staff) within a specified area (unit/floor/service) within a 14-day period where both cases could have reasonably acquired their infection in the hospital.

The low threshold for declaring an outbreak ensures that outbreak management measures, including increased infection prevention and control practices, can be put in place swiftly to contain any further spread. In collaboration with TBDHU, a thorough assessment of the situation is underway, including contact tracing and enhanced surveillance and testing activities. Anyone who is considered to be at risk will be notified.

As a precautionary measure, there will be no admissions to 1A Medicine until further notice. For the safety of all, Essential Care Partners will not be permitted in 1A Medicine or 1A Oncology until the outbreak is resolved. Additional measures may be taken as needed to manage the situation.

This outbreak, combined with high numbers of admitted patients who are COVID-19 positive and the heightened need for critical care services, has prompted our Incident Management Team to advance our hospital’s internal COVID-19 pandemic response from Red (Control) to Grey (Lockdown). This involves additional strategies to make both space and staff available to respond to increasing critical care needs. Options are under investigation regarding patient transfers, reduced elective procedures and alternative spaces to provide care within the hospital. Information will be provided as decisions are confirmed.