CALGARY — A third person has died as the COVID-19 outbreak at Foothills hospital in Calgary grows to 26 cases.
Alberta Health Services confirm an 82-year-old man who died in the cardiac unit tested positive for the virus over the weekend.
There are now 17 patients and nine staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19. On Monday, health officials declared outbreaks in the cardiac care unit and the general medicine unit at Foothills hospital.
AHS also says 114 staff members have been ordered to self-isolate, an increase of 26 from the day before.
“We’re actually handling quite a huge volume of calls,” says Wanda Deadman with United Nurses of Alberta Local 115, the union representing nurses at the Foothills hospital.
“Nurses who do have (full-time) positions, they’ve been burning through their sick banks quite quickly because of their isolation requirements. A number of these nurses are also casual. The casuals are required to self-isolate without pay, so that’s causing some financial constraints for them.”
Officials say staff has increased cleaning measures, visitation is limited in the affected units and screening has been enhanced. Additional testing is being done on staff who work in the two units where the outbreaks were been confirmed.
“(Nurses) are scared and they’re concerned about their families, about contracting (COVID-19) because of exposure,” said Deadman.
AHS say it is still working to identify exactly how the virus was introduced into the hospital.
In a statement, AHS says Foothill hospital remains “a safe place to receive care,” and “there is no increased risk to patients coming to the hospital.”
“Any patient with symptoms, or who has tested positive for COVID-19, is isolated and treated in designated rooms,” read the statement.
“There are no vacancies as a result of isolating staff. The site is using overtime and reassignment of staff to cover shifts as needed.”
Visitors are restricted to end of life situations or pre-approved essential visitors.
Students and volunteers are not allowed on the units during the outbreak.
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