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COVID-19 outbreaks spread at Victoria Hospital in London, Ont.

Posted: December 17, 2020

(December 16, 2020)

By: Kate Dubinski, CBC News

The London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) has declared one new outbreak at Victoria Hospital Wednesday but has yet to comment about how many patients or staff members are involved.

Level Two outbreaks were declared in the sub-acute medicine unit and the short term admissions unit in the same ward. Today’s outbreaks follow one declared yesterday at Victoria Hospital on the burns/plastics unit.

A Level Two outbreak is declared when there are at least two lab-confirmed cases of hospital-acquired illness on a particular unit in patients who have been in the hospital for more than 72 hours.

“This is a crisis. We can’t pretend anymore that it isn’t. All of these failures of government have aligned themselves at the worst time,” said Peter Bergmanis, co-chair of the Ontario Health Coalition.

“Front line staff are so frustrated.”

There are also nine outbreaks at University Hospital, according to the Middlesex London Health Unit. The LHSC has reported 16 deaths as a result of the University Hospital outbreaks

As of Wednesday, 77 patients and 82 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 associated with the UH outbreaks. There are currently 36 patients and 38 staffers who are sick with COVID-19.

The LHSC reports its outbreaks on a page on its website but does not otherwise inform the public or media.

‘Public needs to know’

LHSC administrators declined CBC’s interview requests about the city’s intensive-care unit capacity, the field hospital at Western Fair and how ready local officials are to roll out vaccinations Wednesday. They referred questions to the province.

Bergmanis said it is very difficult to get timely information from the hospital, and he has to rely on internal sources who are afraid for their jobs if they speak out about lack of resources.

“The public needs to be aware of what is going on in these hospitals,” Bergmanis said. “The front-line staff are buried under secrecy. This close-lipped attitude is not serving any purpose.”

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