MSJ: 3C Outbreak Q +A

3C Outbreak - Staff Q&A  (PDF)

Which areas of Mount Saint Joseph Hospital are under outbreak precautions?
An outbreak was declared on January 11, 2021 for Unit 3C at MSJ after a patient tested positive for COVID 19.
What’s being done to stop the spread of infections in 3C?
A number of infection prevention and control measures were immediately implemented as part of our outbreak mitigation strategy, including but not limited to:
  • Careful monitoring of patients, staff and physicians – with screeners at the entrance  
  • All patients have been placed on Droplet and Contact precautions
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfection of all high-touch surfaces  
  • Closing the unit to patient admissions   
  • Self-monitoring or self-isolation of staff/physicians as required   
  • Suspension of visitors to the unit (with exemptions being for compassionate visits at the end of life). 
How are operations being affected in 3C as well as in the rest of the hospital?
In 3C: The unit is closed to new admissions and transfers at this time. All visitation has been suspended until the outbreak measures have been lifted; the exception being for compassionate visits at the end of life. 

In 4E: Out of an abundance of caution, Enhanced Surveillance has been called for 4E. Staff will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon entering this unit.

The rest of MSJ: There is no evidence of risk to patients elsewhere in the hospital. Mount Saint Joseph Hospital remains open and prepared to safely receive and care for all individuals

Is it safe to come to work in 3C?
Yes - it is safe to come to work so long as proper PPE, contact and droplet precautions are used and staff are adhering to the Staff Break Room protocols. Staff should stay home if they are feeling any symptoms, even mild, of COVID-19.
I’ve been working in these units over the last few weeks – do I need to quarantine?
If you have been deemed exposed to COVID-19, you will be contacted by Public Health and advised to self-isolate at home. If you feel any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild, you are asked to stay home, isolate, and get tested for COVID-19.

If you begin to feel symptoms, even mild, while on shift, you are asked to let your manager know and then go get tested and self-isolate at home.

I work at multiple acute care units/sites as well as within 3C – can I continue to do this?
No – Until the outbreak is declared over, staff on 3C  – including casual staff – can only work on these units.
Where do I pick up my hospital issued scrubs?
You can pick up your scrubs at Linen Services.
Is it safe for patients in other areas of MSJ to receive essential visitors?              
Apart from 3C, MSJ remains open and is safe for patients and essential visitors.
What can I tell my patient’s family members?
Conversations with patient’s families regarding COVID-19 can be challenging. Here are a few talking points:
  • A Vancouver Coastal Health Medical Health Officer declared a COVID-19 Outbreak on 3C on January 11, 2021.
  • Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence are taking critical steps to ensure the safety of patients, residents, staff and community with early identification of cases, prompt isolation, testing, monitoring and execution of proper infection, prevention and control practices. 
  • As part of our outbreak protocols we are not admitting new patients, but patients will be discharge from the unit per normal procedures, with information regarding self-isolation, wearing a mask, hand hygiene, and physical distancing, as well as connecting them with Public Health for follow up.
  • To ensure patient safety and minimize spread, we are unable to accommodate in-person visits at this time, except for compassionate reasons (e.g. at end-of-life).
I’ve been instructed by a Medical Health Officer to self-isolate but I don’t have any symptoms. Is this considered sick leave?
If Public Health directs you to self-isolate and you are not sick, you will be placed on paid general leave.
I’ve been instructed by a Medical Health Officer to self-isolate and I have symptoms. What happens in this case?
If you are sick, stay home. PHC will code this as sick time. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you must remain off work. Your absence will be managed by Occupational Health & Safety in accordance with guidance from Public Health to determine when you can safely return to work.
How is PHC ensuring staff are well and without symptoms before coming to work?
All staff, including medical staff and contracted staff, working on the outbreak units must be screened for symptoms prior to the start of their shift and at least once part way through their shift. Screening must be documented and maintained by the unit.

Staff on all clinical units must complete a self-check when they start their shifts; staff in non-clinical sites must complete a self-assessment for COVID-19 symptoms (see daily event in your Outlook calendar) at the start of their work day if they plan to work on-site.

Screeners have been placed at all entrances to control staff and visitor access and ensure protocols are followed.

In CST Cerner, where can we find consistent documentation and communication for patients on droplet and contact precautions? 
On the top banner bar towards the right-hand side there is an area for precautions. The three precautions are: contact, droplet or airborne or combination of the three transmission-based precautions. Some of those precautions are initiated automatically at the triage stage if certain risk factors are in place.

For example, if at triage, a patient has respiratory symptoms and a fever, that will automatically trigger droplet and contact precautions. However, when you're doing your admission orders, you may have checked off those precautions as well. Therefore, it will appear like there are two orders in the system.

When the patient is removed from droplet and contact precautions, it's necessary to highlight both those orders under the order section and cancel both of them otherwise, it will disappear from the banner bar.

Take a moment to check what's on the banner bar and understand why it's there. If you don't understand, there's always the reference card or you can use the Spectrum app to identify what is the reason for the precautions. Be sure to check at the patient’s door to make sure that that sign is consistent with what's on Cerner.

If there's inconsistency, ask another member on the clinical team to resolve the inconsistency. And if the patient doesn't require that level of precaution, please discontinue all those associated orders on Cerner. If they require additional precautions, you have to put on additional orders. The banner bar on Cerner is dynamic and changes as the orders change.

How will we know when the outbreak is over?
The estimated end date of an outbreak is 28 days from implementation of outbreak control measures or symptom onset of the last lab-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis on the unit, whichever is later. Guidelines are being updated as we learn more about the virus and may change. Also, variables specific to each facility will be taken into consideration and may impact this timeline.
I’m worried I may bring the virus home to my family. How can I ensure that I don’t?
Regular hand hygiene and cleaning of surfaces in your home will help prevent transmission of COVID-19. In addition, if you are in a direct care role, bring your uniform or work attire to work and change prior to your shift. After your shift, change back into your street clothes and put your uniform/work attire in a plastic bag. Your uniform/work attire should be washed separately in hot water.
What can I say to families who are upset by visitor restrictions?
We understand that the current rules are upsetting for families and caregivers. If you are speaking to a family member who is upset, empathize with their concerns and remind them that the rules are in place as a precautionary measure to keep patients, staff and physicians safe.
I’m feeling very stressed. What wellness supports are available for me?
The Wellness & Support Team encourages you to reach out for help when you need it.  You’re there for them.  We’re there for you.
  • Email the Wellness & Support team via covidwellness&
  • Reach out to your Wellness Champions (if you have one on your unit currently) or the Long Term Care Dedicated Person, Nora McKellin, MSW RSW, through the Wellness and Support line.
  • Contact the COVID-19 Support Line at 604-806-9925.
  • For health & safety questions/concerns, please contact Sandy Coughlin, Director – Occupational Health & Safety at 604-341-6272.
  • If you need more urgent emotional support, please contact EFAP 24/7 Telephone: 1-800-663-1142 (24/7)
  • Learn more about the new and improved EFAP services here.
  • Don't forget, you can access the following staff resources located on our Staff Support section on the COVID-19 website. Here, you will find information about staff wellness supports and more.
This page last updated Feb 4, 2021 5:55pm PST