5th patient dies as Foothills hospital COVID outbreaks continue

A fifth patient at the Foothills Medical Centre has died from a COVID-19 infection as the hospital continues to grapple with six outbreaks at the northwest Calgary facility. 

There are now 35 patient cases linked to the outbreaks and 29 health-care workers have tested positive, said site medical director Dr. Peter Jamieson in an update Thursday.

Three visitors linked to the outbreak investigation have also tested positive. 

“AHS is very saddened to report that to date, five patients have passed away from these outbreaks. We offer our sincerest condolences to each patient’s family,” AHS said in a release.

There are outbreaks on six units at Foothills, including several cardiac wards. Two more units are on “outbreak watch.” The outbreaks have sent 290 staff into self-isolation.

So far, AHS has postponed 45 of 260 scheduled surgeries due to staff restrictions and the reduced number of available inpatient beds due to the outbreaks. 

AHS said on Wednesday that Edmonton hospitals are providing support by taking new referrals, but critical procedures continue to be performed at the Foothills cardiac catheterization lab.

AHS also said patients who have already been admitted have been transferred to other Calgary hospitals.

Enhanced visitor restrictions are in place across the hospital, limiting visitors to essential or end-of-life circumstances, and decisions on further surgery postponements will be made as needed going forward, AHS said. 

“All other services usually offered at the Foothills Medical Centre remain in place and we are working hard to ensure the availability of specialized and staff physicians to continue to provide these services,” the release said.

“Contract tracing continues, and the situation is being closely monitored.”

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