Midland hospital staff can breathe a sigh of relief as the region's health unit has declared the end of a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility.
The first case of the Georgian Bay General Hospital’s (GBGH) 2 North inpatient ward outbreak was recorded on Dec. 4. Subsequently, 32 inpatient, 32 staff, and two visitor cases were recorded; eight patients died.
However, today, the hospital announced on its website that the outbreak has officially been declared over in consultation with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.
As previously reported by MidlandToday, staff at GBGH have already started receiving the first dose of the vaccine. The process is being carried out at a Barrie immunization clinic, to where staff travel due to the vaccine's temperature sensitivity.
Hospital president and CEO, Gail Hunt, indicated to MidlandToday that staff and credentialed staff will receive their second dose of the vaccine in about three weeks time.
But even once the vaccine provides full immunity, the hospital plans to continue following public health guidelines for personal protective equipment (PPE) and physical distancing to ensure the ongoing safety of patients and staff.
A hospital communications official has indicated an update on the situation will be made available later Tuesday.
The hospital's website also indicates that visitor restrictions continue to be in effect.
"All permitted visitors will continue to be screened upon entering the hospital," says the official statement. "Any visitor who screens positive for COVID-19 symptoms will be asked to not visit. In exceptional circumstances (such as a support person for a woman in labour, a parent/guardian of a child in the Emergency department or a palliative/end of life patient), a visitor who screens positive for symptoms will be reviewed by GBGH’s infection prevention and control practitioner or hospital coordinator prior to entry."
COVID tests are still being conducted by appointment only at 1156 St. Andrew’s Drive, Midland (GBGH Midland site, building in the parking lot). To book an appointment online, please click here, or call the assessment centre booking desk at 705-529-1025. Testing is available Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
-- with files from Andrew Philips