Surgeries delayed, visitation limited, as Foothills hospital grapples with outbreaks

Alberta Health Services has postponed surgeries and is restricting visitors at the Foothills hospital as part of its response to ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks.

The organization says 39 surgeries will be rescheduled due to staffing restrictions and the reduced number of available beds. 

A total of 53 people have now been infected as part of the outbreaks that started in two cardiac units and a general medicine unit at the Foothills Medical Centre. 

“As of today, visitation at FMC will be temporarily restricted to end-of-life situations or pre-approved essential visitors only,” AHS said in a news release. 

“We know this is difficult for everyone and we will do all we can to keep these additional restrictions in place for as short a time as possible.”

The emergency department remains open and will continue to provide surgery. AHS says it is “working hard” to ensure the availability of specialized staff. 

“There are a total of 26 positive patient cases linked to the FMC outbreaks and 27 positive health-care workers,” reads the release. 

AHS says the number of health-care workers who are in isolation will be updated twice weekly. The latest tally, issued Friday, was 136.

Four patients have died as a result of outbreaks at the Calgary hospital.

AHS says contact tracing continues along with enhanced screening, and infection prevention and control measures continue to be in place. 

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