NICU OUTBREAK UPDATE
Submitted by Jen Duff, Interim Program Director, Maternity & NICU.
Thanks to the collective efforts of the Providence COVID outbreak team – and the fast-acting work of the clinical team – there have been no new cases of COVID-19 in the St. Paul’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) since an outbreak was declared by Public Health on July 16. No staff, no other patients, and no babies have tested positive. Kudos to the whole team for effectively managing this issue.
The NICU provides neonatal services to premature infants, ill full-term newborns, and infants transferred from other neonatal facilities with ongoing specialized care needed. Upon the declaration, the main NICU was closed, and a satellite NICU established. We will evaluate with Public Health reopening the main NICU at the end of the incubation period (July 28th).
The day after the outbreak was declared, Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, had confirmed that a small group (less than 10) of people, including infants, were exposed to COVID-19 at St. Paul’s, but called the outbreak “a low-risk scenario for others that are in the NICU.”
This experience is a good reminder that COVID-19 continues to be present in the community and that all of us must remain vigilant regarding PPE usage, limiting foot traffic, encouraging our colleagues to follow the PPE guidelines, and always work together to reinforce and encourage continued good practice.
Special thanks to the many staff, midwives, nurses and physicians who have worked tirelessly to adjust schedules, work extra shifts, and who really have gone above and beyond and have been extremely flexible and willing to help wherever it’s been needed.
Lastly the clinical team in NICU/maternity want to give a special shout out to IPAC and all their support. They are simply awesome.
The Maternity unit at St. Paul’s is open and safe for expectant families to come deliver their babies. The most up-to-date information for the public and families is available at http://www.providencehealthcare.org/covid-19.
If you need to reach PHC’s Infection Prevention and Control Team (IPAC), please call local 69357. Do not contact individual IPAC team members.