Staff member and special care home resident at St. Joseph’s test positive for COVID-19

A resident and a staff member of the special care home at St. Joseph’s Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19.

Routine tests over the weekend using swabs identified the positive tests, starting with the staff member and then the resident.

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“We don’t know if they’re connected or if they’re separate instances from different sources, but we do know we had two positives present over the weekend. They were dealt with rapidly upon learning the positive results,” said St. Joseph’s Hospital CEO Greg Hoffort.

A recent protocol has been established to test residents and staff on a regular basis. That procedure was implemented in early March.

“It was proactive. With the different surges around the province, there were new measures put in place to be pro-active about it, and that testing revealed both tests.”

Once the staff member tested positive, then all the staff and residents were tested, revealing the positive for the resident.

Some measures were put in place, such as cohorting staff on the two sides of the special care home, so workers will not be crossing paths from one side to the other, in an effort to minimize the contact, he said.

The staff member and the resident are now in isolation, and Hoffort said they are doing fine. The staff member is at home and the special care home resident did not have to be moved to acute care.

Additional point of care testing has revealed no further positives.

There have been situations in Canada in which COVID has been very serious once it enters a special care home, Hoffort said.

In the two previous cases at the hospital in the past 13 months – one with a patient at the addictions treatment centre last fall, and the other in long-term care in January – staff members have become very capable of putting additional measures into place reasonably quickly.

“They’re always protective of the residents. They’re always wearing the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment). There are regular protocols. We don’t until an issue like this happens before we practise safe care.”  

Hoffort praised the response of the hospital and its staff to the situation.  

“It’s been a trying year for all of the front-line staff in every department in the hospital and special care home, and they continue to rise above and beyond to provide patient-centred care and always putting the patient first,” said Hoffort.  

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