COVID-19 outbreak grows at Georgian Bay General Hospital, some surgeries postponed

Two patients and 13 staff and credentialed staff infected

A COVID-19 outbreak declared at one inpatient unit at Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) in Midland on Friday has grown to include all inpatient units at the facility, including the intensive care unit and obstetrics.

Initially the outbreak impacted the 2 North inpatient unit. On December 3, one admitted patient and one staff member from that unit were confirmed to be positive for COVID-19, which prompted an outbreak declaration on 2 North.

Testing over the weekend has confirmed an additional 12 staff and credentialed staff, such as physicians, midwives and dentists, infections in areas of the hospital outside of 2 North. Another patient has also tested positive for the virus bringing the total to two patients and 13 staff/credentialed staff.

“We are deeply concerned about the status of this outbreak and I want to assure our staff and our community we are doing everything we can in the best interests of our patients and our team members,” says Gail Hunt, president and chief executive officer, GBGH. “Over the weekend, our team has been working tirelessly to test, conduct contact tracing and implement the necessary measures to manage this outbreak and we will continue to put all our best efforts forward.”

Over the weekend, GBGH conducted extensive testing of all patients on the 2 North and 1 North units. On December 7 all patients on the 2 East inpatient unit and ICU were swabbed. Of the testing completed with 2 North patients on December 5, results have been received and they have all been negative. The hospital is awaiting results for 1 North, 2 East and the ICU. Contact tracing is currently underway to thoroughly examine transmission and potential exposures, either high or low risk. 

“GBGH continues to work closely with public health to manage and control this outbreak which includes thorough contact tracing and enhanced infection prevention and control,” says Dr. Dan Lee, COVID medical lead and chief of Emergency Medicine, GBGH. “Based on the test results we’re receiving we are seeing more positive cases among staff than patients. The majority of transmission appears to be from staff to staff based on our preliminary findings.”

The hospital tested 167 staff on Saturday and Sunday, and the testing will continue on Tuesday. GBGH is also testing all new admissions to detect infections which may have been contracted in the community.

Effective Tuesday, Dec. 8, non-urgent and elective surgical and ambulatory care (endoscopy) procedures scheduled at the hospital are being postponed at this time. Urgent and emergent surgeries and endoscopies will proceed at this time, as will Diagnostic Imaging. Physicians’ offices or the hospital will contact patients to notify them if their procedure is being postponed.

Visitation to the hospital remains restricted with the exception of special circumstances (palliative, birthing unit) on a case-by-case basis.

Currently, there are 44 active hospital outbreaks across the province.