At least eight health-care workers at Bluewater Health have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks, the Journal has learned.
“This was expected. Not happy news obviously, but it was expected,” hospital spokesperson Julia Oosterman said Wednesday.
“This is consistent with what we see in other jurisdictions and it’s why we take precautions so seriously.”
All eight workers are recovering at home.
Oosterman said privacy laws prevent disclosing additional details, but none of those infected are doctors. And none worked in the intensive care unit, COVID unit, or emergency department, she said.
Some who tested posted were on leave when they got sick and likely contracted COVID-19 in the community, she said.
And they likely were exposed before patients entering the hospital in recent weeks were considered to be a potential COVID patient, Oosterman explained.
“It means we have to pretend that any patient, anywhere in the hospital … has COVID. Therefore, we have to treat everyone and ourselves, and take all the precautions, as if they do.”
Bluewater Health has 1,725 employees at its Sarnia and Petrolia sites.
Staff is tested if they show symptoms. Whether they test positive or negative they are instructed to take their temperature twice daily for two weeks, Oosterman said.
Those who test positive for the novel coronavirus are sent home for at least two weeks, and they can return to work once they test negative.
A special supply of COVID-19 swabs is reserved for Ontario health-care workers and the tests are fast-tracked, Oosterman added.
Lambton Public Health changed the way it records testing numbers Wednesday to indicate the number of test results received, rather than the number of tests conducted.
A total of 669 results have come back, with 18% testing positive (119) and 82% negative (550).
The number of patients in hospital being treated for the disease has declined slightly each day for the past five days.
As of Wednesday, 22 confirmed and 11 presumed cases awaiting results were in hospital care.