Eleven Bluewater Health workers test positive for COVID-19

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Eleven workers at Bluewater Health have tested positive for COVID-19 – four of those employees contracted the virus in the hospital.

Julia Oosterman, communications chief at Bluewater Health, isn’t sure if the four were involved in direct patient care but she does say none of the eleven employees with COVID-19 are physicians.

All of the workers are recovering at home.

Oosterman says long before the virus was detected in Lambton County, staff on protocols to keep staff safe from the virus. “We spent hours and hours and hours trying to make sure this didn’t happen,” she says.

When COVID-19 was detected in Lambton, the hospital decided to treat everyone coming through the doors as someone with COVID-19. That means using a lot of personal protective wear. And even with that, four employees were infected inside the hospital. But, the workers were not in the COVID-19 unit.

“The employees didn’t come from ICU, out of ED or COVID unit,” says Oosterman.

“That does cause anxiety for the staff for the public and anyone coming into the hospital, because this virus is extremely sneaky.”

In long term care homes, if there is even one case of COVID-19, an outbreak is declared. But the rule is not the same for hospitals; even with 11 employees who have tested positive an outbreak has not been declared in the hospital.

Oosterman – who herself has tested negative for COVID-19 – says they’re concerned but says it is not surprising health care workers would be infected.

“Anything over zero is a problem,” she says. “We feel right now we’re under control, very much under control.”