ST. PAUL’S HOSPITAL’S NICU COVID OUTBREAK UPDATE

On July 16, 2020 the Medical Health Officer declared an outbreak in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Paul’s Hospital.

As of 4:00 pm today, there are no COVID-positive babies, mothers or families in the St. Paul’s units. There are also no staff from the NICU or Maternity unit that have tested positive for COVID-19. We currently have one infant in our satellite NICU who we are keeping in isolation and treating as a potential exposure only, but remains absent of symptoms, as does the infant’s family.

At Providence Health Care, we want to assure staff and patients that St. Paul’s Hospital – including the NICU and Maternity Unit – is a safe place to work and receive care. Our hospital remains safe and operational. 

Maternity Unit: 

The maternity unit remains open and is actively caring for patients. VCH’s Public Health unit and Providence’s Infection Prevention and Control team are working together closely to manage the situation. 

Reopening the NICU: 

The IPAC team has completed their assessment, decontamination, and cleaning of the NICU. The Medical Health Officer has decided not to re-open the NICU at this time. Once the decision to re-open has been made, the team will be informed via communication. 

As the NICU remains closed, the satellite NICU will remain open in Room #22. A second additional satellite NICU has also been established to manage any new infants born at SPH requiring NICU level care in Room #4.  All NICU visitors should be wearing masks and signing the visitor log (name, date, time in and out).  The St. Paul’s NICU service, overall, is on limited diversion to avoid transfers from other hospitals.  We are ready for internal admissions to satellite NICU in room #4.

PPE:

Proper PPE procedures are critical to stop the spread of COVID-19. All PPE guidelines and information can be found here on Providence’s COVID-19 site. 

Staffing: 

Within the NICU, we are making efforts to keep infants with any potential exposure separated from all other infants. Therefore, only NICU staff who directly cared for the COVID-positive infant from July 10- 14th will be permitted to look after exposed NICU infants, and no other NICU babies until approved by the Medical Health Officer.

There has been no known staff exposure, as NICU staff have been confirmed to have been wearing masks and eye protection and practicing hand hygiene throughout the encounter — there are no staffing restrictions within the Maternity unit. Staffing plans and assignments will continue as usual. 

Once exposed infants have been discharged, and there are no further indications of exposure, we will review staffing plans with VCH Public Health. 

Sick calls: 

Any staff members who worked between the dates of July 10-14 and called in sick to work will be contacted by OH&S and followed up regarding sick status. Further, all future sick calls will be reviewed with OH&S directly with the employees. We continue to ask our staff, patients and families to remain vigilant and immediately self-isolate and report any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection. 

 More Information for Staff:

  • The latest information for staff on the outbreak declared at the NICU at St. Paul’s Hospital is available at the COVID-19 website. 

  • Please see this Q&A for more information for staff regarding this outbreak.

Family questions or concerns: 

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 the PHC website. 

Here at PHC, we are cautiously optimistic that there has been no additional spread of the virus since the initial exposure; however, we must remain vigilant and take proper precautions. Together, we will get through this. 

This page last updated Jul 20, 2020 6:37pm PDT