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COVID-19: ‘Precautionary’ outbreak declared and University Hospital of Northern BC

Northern Health is implementing enhanced COVID-19 precautions related to the Family Medicine Unit at University Hospital of Northern BC in Prince George, following lab-confirmed – but unrelated – cases of COVID-19.

Northern Health spokesperson Eryn Collins said, in an email, the infections have been in staff and in some hospitalized patients. She added it’s not considered as a formal outbreak as not all cases are necessarily connected and the number of outbreak-related cases was not readily available.

Enhanced outbreak control measures are in place at UHNBC, and at this time, there is no evidence of ongoing transmission of COVID-19 within UHNBC. As a precaution, NH Medical Health Officers have declared a managed outbreak related to the Family Medicine Unit (FMU) at UHNBC, based on criteria for declaring outbreaks in acute care settings. In this case, there have been individual lab-confirmed cases in staff who may have worked during their potential infectious period, and in some hospitalized patients.

NH care facilities have implemented policies and procedures for COVID-19 infection prevention and control, and the risk of transmission to patients, staff and physicians at UHNBC is considered low.

Northern Health Public Health is closely monitoring for additional cases, and NH is taking steps to protect the health of staff and those they care for, with enhanced outbreak precautions such as (but not limited to):

  • Cleaning and infection control measures have been enhanced
  • Enhanced symptom monitoring among all UHNBC staff and patients

The precautionary outbreak declaration will be in place until at least December 16, 2020 at UHNBC, which is 14 days after any potential exposure to a lab-confirmed case. If there is still no evidence of transmission of illness after that time, the outbreak can be declared over.

More information on public exposures, school exposures, and facility or community outbreaks of COVID-19 within the Northern Health region, is available here: www.northernhealth.ca/health-topics/public-exposures-and-outbreaks

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