A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared on the Quinte 5 inpatient unit at Belleville General Hospital, after three staff members tested positive. Contract tracing is underway and all patients and staff will be tested.
Meanwhile, all visits to the unit will be paused for at least two weeks, except for end-of-life situations.
This latest outbreak comes as Quinte hospitals face a rising number of pandemic patients. Officials with Quinte Health Care say their four hospitals are ready for the third wave of COVID-19, saying that while the peak of the crisis hasn’t hit yet, the numbers are going up.
“Seventy-one patients have been admitted to Quinte since April 1 with COVID. Only 19 of those have come out of region,” said Stacey Daub, president and CEO of Quinte Health Care.
Daub and says they’re preparing for more out of region patients as well.
“We have been working hard to build and adapt our capacity both for local demand but also to support our provincial colleagues,” Daub said. “Our planning scenario is really to be able to support approximately 30 COVID patients at a time at the peak of the third wave.”
QHC Chief of Staff Dr. Colin MacPherson was also a part of a virtual update.
“And that has entailed another transformation of our operations, of our wards,” MacPherson said. “A re-think of how our teams are going to operate so that we can extend the skills of our most important team members who are familiar with acute care and critical care and so on.”
When it comes to patients coming from COVID-19 hot spots, Daub says it’s time to help out and that’s certainly what will happen at Quinte Health Care.
“Over the last year … upwards of or beyond 1,600-plus of our local residents have gone to the GTA, Ottawa, Kingston and other places in terms of getting support,” Daub said, “so now it’s our turn to return that response and support to our colleagues who are feeling the most impact from the third wave.”
QHC has also ramped down all elective surgeries and non-emergency procedures. Daub says that has helped free up capacity and enabled staff to move from supporting some areas to other areas where staff resources are needed.
As for MacPherson, he says battling the virus will be a joint effort by everyone.
“We’re motivated by our community members who have respond to the call as well and adhered to the public health messages and restrictions. As difficult as they may be, I like to remind people that they are saving lives, they really are.”