SLMHC, SLFNHA reporting no new positive COVID-19 cases as of June 26
Tim Brody - Editor
Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 amongst its hospital staff as of June 26.
Early last week the health centre had reported six positive cases of COVID-19 amongst its hospital staff, none of whom worked at the William A “Bill” George Extended Care Facility.
The asymptomatic cases were discovered through the hospital’s surveillance program.
“The staff surveillance program continued throughout the week, and we now have more than 80 per cent of test results in,” the health centre shared, adding, “As of the time of this update (June 26), we are happy to share that there have been no new positive cases amongst our staff and physicians. In addition, we continue to conduct staff and physician surveillance as well as swabbing inpatients for testing.”
The health centre further shared, “Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) and SLMHC’s Infection Control department have completed contact tracing. NWHU continues to carry out case management and those who tested positive are continuing to self-isolate. We will continue with our screening process for everyone entering our hospital and the William A. George Extended Care unit (ECU). In the last few months, we have also been regularly testing our staff and physicians working at the ECU, and this will continue.
“We want to assure all of our patients and clients that the quick actions taken by SLMHC, the NWHU and Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) have helped to quickly contain the spread of the virus. It is important to know that no one has become ill and that this, and the absence of spread among contacts, points to a low-risk situation.”
In an update on June 26, Dr. John Guilfoyle, Public Health Physician for SLFNHA, shared that no new cases had been discovered in two area First Nation communities where people had tested positive for coronavirus.
Guilfoyle said none of the people who had tested positive became ill adding that contact tracing in those communities had been completed.
Three positive cases were reported in one community, two positive cases were reported in another community.
Guilfoyle advised anyone with symptoms to get tested for COVID-19.
Symptoms of COVID-19 he said can include:
- Fever (temperature of 37.8°C or greater)
- New or worsening cough
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- New olfactory or taste disorder(s)
- Nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
- Runny nose or nasal congestion – in absence of underlying reason symptoms such as seasonal allergies, post nasal drip, etc.
Guilfoyle said atypical symptoms of COVID-19 should also be considered, especially in children, older persons, and persons with a developmental disability such as:
- Unexplained fatigue/malaise
- Delirium (acutely altered mental status and inattention)
- Unexplained or increased number of falls
- Acute functional decline
- Exacerbation of chronic
- Multisystem inflammatory vasculitis in children
“If you have any those symptoms, that’s when you need to get tested,” he reiterated, stating residents of SLFNHA member communities should contact the nursing station where they live.
SLFNHA shared on June 23 that in response to increased COVID-19 activity in our area:
The following increased public health measures are in place at the hostel:
- All staff to wear masks
- Audit of infection control measures
- Hand sanitizer at all entrances
- Strict no visitors
- Screening on entry
- As part of the surveillance strategy, all hostel staff are offered testing.
Increased public health measures are in place at the Northern Clinic and a surveillance strategy is activated including testing of northern clinic staff.
Patients returning home after medical travel
Measures are in place to prevent the virus from entering the community. Public health measures for patients of SLMHC and clients of the JMK hostel include:
- All patients will be offered a test before returning home
- They do not have to wait for results in Sioux Lookout – they can return home and ensure they wear masks on the plane
- On arrival in community they will be screened at the airport and transported to where they will quarantine/self-isolate for 14 days in community. If they develop symptoms after returning home, they should be re-swabbed immediately.
Visiting Health Service Providers
A temporary halt on nurses and doctors entering the communities is in place. Doctors and nurses will be tested where appropriate and required to self-monitor for a sufficient amount of time. Communities will be involved in discussions around the return of their physicians.
SLMHC reminded that, “The Sioux Lookout Assessment Centre offers testing for anyone who is concerned they have COVID-19. Appointments can be made by calling 737-5880. The centre is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Due to a high volume of calls, we ask that you leave a message with your name and number and one of our staff will call you back to arrange an appointment.”
“We remind everyone to follow recommendations from NWHU and SLFNHA, and the rest of our public health officials, as we work collaboratively to ensure public safety. This includes practicing physical distancing, wearing masks when physical distancing is not possible, and practicing good hand hygiene,” SLMHC concluded.