6 staff members test positive for coronavirus at West Haldimand General Hospital

Six staff members have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at West Haldimand General (WHGH), according to executives at the hospital in Hagersville.

On Friday, the facility banned visitors as the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) began completing lab tests and contact tracing.

In a statement, the hospital said it believes the case of the first individual who tested positive for the virus was tied to community transmission, with the following cases connected to staff-to-staff transmission.

The hospital’s leadership says there is no evidence of staff-to-patient or patient-to-staff transmission at present.

Staff are also being screened for COVID-19 upon entry to the hospital.

“The hospital has rolled out strategies to limit visitors and the potential spread of infection,” says Tom Thomson, interim president and CEO of West Haldimand General Hospital.

“Evidence suggests this is a community-related transmission that was identified by the steps we are taking to screen staff for active symptoms. Our hospital remains safe. We are all wishing our colleagues a speedy recovery. We are grateful for the commitment of our frontline health care workers through this pandemic.”

HNHU reported two in-patients with the virus at West Haldimand General in late March. The first death in the region was one of those two – a resident of an area retirement home.

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The other patient remains under care in isolation at WHGH.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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