COVID-19 outbreak ends at Tillsonburg hospital

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The COVID-19 outbreak at Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital has ended.

On May 5, three patients at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19 when an outbreak was first declared.

“At the hospital we immediately instituted the highest precautions that we can for all of our patients and our staff, and we tested our staff and our patients,” said hospital CEO and president Sandy Jansen on May 26. “Unfortunately by May 7th we had a total of 10 patients testing positive on two units and four staff members.

“Working collaboratively with Southwestern Public Health, we made the decision at that time to close our inpatient units to admission, and we closed 1 South, 2 South, and 2 North to admissions,” said Jansen, noting that would account for 40 beds.

The intensive care unit and emergency department remained open.

“We were also able to continue our ambulatory care visits and urgent surgeries,” she noted.


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On May 17, it was reported on the Southwestern Public Health dashboard there were 15 resident cases, five staff, and one death.

Testing of patients and staff on May 20 revealed no further positive cases.

Two of the three closed inpatient units at the Tillsonburg hospital were opened the weekend of May 23, and some of the patients that needed to be admitted to Ingersoll and Woodstock hospitals were transferred to Tillsonburg.

“Our capacity has stabilized at this time.

“As of today (May 26) we have a total of 16 patients who have tested positive,” said Jansen. “One patient remains positive, in hospital, related to the outbreak, and five patients are in hospital and recovered. We have six patients discharged into the community. And very, very sadly and regretfully we have to report three deaths.”

The three COVID-19 related deaths at the Tillsonburg hospital were all residents of Haldimand-Norfolk, ages 81, 78 and unknown. The third death was reported on the morning of May 26.

“The team at TDMH want to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of these individuals,” said Cheryl Pfaff, Chief Nursing Officer in a Monday media release.

The most recent swabbing at the hospital took place May 27.

“If it’s all clear, then – again working with Public Health – we hope to declare our outbreak over by May 29,” said Jansen.

On Monday, the Southwestern Public Health COVID-19 dashboard indicated the outbreak was over.

“Diligent infection prevention and control measures were key in helping control this outbreak,” said Jansen in a media release Monday. “We are so grateful for the support of all staff, physicians, leaders, Southwestern Public Health as well as Alexandra Hospital Ingersoll and Woodstock Hospital.”


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The hospital has now returned to normal operations.

“I want to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. Lock, Elaine Reddick and Kitty Chan at the Southwestern Public Health Unit,” said Jansen. “They have been just invaluable as it relates to guiding us and supporting us through this outbreak.

“I also want to thank the staff, the physicians and the leadership team at Tillsonburg hospital who have been tireless in managing this outbreak.

“I also want to thank Woodstock hospital and Alexandra hospital, who were able to accept admissions that would have normally come into Tillsonburg but we moved them to Woodstock hospital and Alexandra hospital.”

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