Vistor restriction at the Mental Health Inpatient Unit in Sarnia




Bluewater Health has implemented infection control procedures on its Mental Health Inpatient unit as fewer than five patients have gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea and vomiting). Bluewater Health has notified Lambton Public Health.

The unit currently has 26 patients and will be restricted to two designated visitors per patient to prevent further transmission as of 12:00 pm, December 9, 2016. These visitors will be required to wear gowns, masks with eye protection and gloves, and will be prohibited from visiting patients in other areas of the hospital for the duration of the outbreak. The restrictions will continue to be in place until all patients are symptom free for a 72-hour time period. Family members of all the patients on the unit have been notified directly by hospital staff.

“Whenever there is a cluster of people, particularly with the senior population, experiencing these types of symptoms, we implement control procedures to reduce the chances that others may become ill,” said Helen Shaw, Manager, Infection Prevention & Control.

At this time, positive laboratory identification has not been confirmed. The hospital has begun specimen collection from patients showing symptoms. Patients will continue to be monitored and reviewed on a daily basis. Additional procedures have been implemented at the hospital. The environmental services staff has enhanced cleaning efforts to maintain a sanitary environment and all staff caring for the affected patients will wear gowns, masks with eye protection and gloves.

To support the hospital’s efforts to prevent the spread of infection, all visitors are reminded to use hand sanitizer when coming to and leaving Bluewater Health. Individuals are asked not to visit family or friends in the hospital if they are feeling unwell or had symptoms of nausea, vomiting or diarrhea within the last 48 hours.

Members of the public should continue to come to Bluewater Health for scheduled tests and procedures. Cancelling or delaying tests or procedures may put a patient at much more risk than coming into Bluewater Health when infection control measures are in place.

The situation is being monitored by the hospital’s Infection Control Committee and Lambton Public Health. Once a decision to lift visitor restrictions is made, family members will be notified. Visiting hours for the other inpatient units at Bluewater Health’s two locations continue as normal.