Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre Ramps Up for COVID-19 Surge

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Screening for COVID-19 at Hospital entrances will be in effect as of 20:00 today, Friday, March 13, 2020. Screening will follow Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care guidelines regarding symptoms and travel. Screening involves answering questions related to COVID-19 symptoms, as well as recent travel. All people will be screened before being allowed in. In order to effectively manage screening, entrances will be designated as follows: Four entrances will be available during day time hours between 06:00 and 20:00: West main entrance: accessible to all; East cafeteria: accessible to staff, specified learners and contractors only. Patients or care partners will be directed to other entrances; Emergency Department (ED): accessible to ED staff and ED patients/care partners only. All others will be directed to other entrances; Labour and Delivery (L&D): accessible to staff and L&D patients/care partners only. All others will be directed to other entrances. Two entrances will be available during overnight hours between 20:00 and 06:00: Emergency Department: accessible to all; Labour & Delivery: for staff and L&D patients/care partners only. All others will be directed to the ED entrance.
Stock IMAGE - Screening for COVID-19 at Hospital entrances Friday, March 13, 2020. NOT currently in effect.

THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has ramped up as COVID-19 numbers have climbed in the region.

There are currently two patients in the Intensive Care Ward and 13 other patients in hospital with COVID-19 related issues.

The TBRHSC in an email forwarded to NNL says:

TBRHSC’s Incident Management Team (IMT) continues to meet daily given the fast-changing nature of COVID-19, provincial regulations, and their impact on operations. Ensuring the availability of specialized acute care services is a priority and we are prepared to respond at all times.

The proactive measures we’re currently taking include:

  • Opening a dedicated COVID-19 Care Unit on 3B to allow patients to be cared for in a specific type of setting that keeps them and others safe.

  • Reducing the allowable number of Essential Care Partners – Inpatients and outpatients will be granted one ECP unless indicated otherwise.

  • Pausing non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures as per Ministry Directive #2 – Patients impacted by this change will be contacted.

  • In alignment with Ministry of Health Guidance, and in order to preserve our health human resources, we are adjusting our Assessment Centre operations to support high-risk settings, and specific setting populations.

In addition, the decision was made to declare an outbreak on 3A 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. We are conducting a thorough assessment of the situation and aligning our supports to enhance surveillance and testing activities. Anyone considered to be at risk will be notified.

To support our increased Emergency Department (ED) volumes and acuity, we are asking for our community’s assistance to ensure those who need our emergency care, can receive it immediately. If you visit the ED, you will be seen based on the severity of your illness. Patients are seen based on an assessment of individual illness including many community members who arrive by ambulance. As a result of high volumes, this will likely mean longer than normal waiting times for less severe illness. If you have mild COVID-19 symptoms, you may wish to call your primary care provider or TeleHealth Ontario for advice on managing mild COVID-19 symptoms at home.