Georgian Bay General Hospital continues to battle a stubborn COVID-19 outbreak that has infected more than 60 people.
As CTV's Craig Momney finds out during a one-on-one with Dr. Dan Lee, there is good news from the Midland hospital on Tuesday.
Craig Momney: The outbreak continues at Georgian Bay General Hospital. Can you update the situation?
Dr. Lee: We're seeing some improvement.
There's a downward trend in cases, quite significantly over the past couple of weeks, which is very good. We've had 32 staff that have been infected, but thankfully, most of them are back to work right now.
Unfortunately, we also had 32 patients become infected through the outbreak, six are still admitted in hospital right now, and we have 19 that have been able to go home.
Unfortunately, like we're seeing throughout this pandemic, we did have six deaths related to the outbreak.
Craig Momney: But you also had part of the outbreak lifted as of Tuesday, correct?
Dr. Lee: There is some good news coming through. Our floor at 1 North is out of the outbreak now, which is very good. So we're seeing some good progress right now.
Craig Momney: Your hospital is the hardest hit in the region. How is the staff working to contain the virus?
Dr. Lee: They're working very hard, but I think this definitely took a toll.
At the beginning of the outbreak, we did lose a lot of staff, of course, because that was the first big wave when we recognized there were two cases that were linked.
We went into full gear, checking in on all the high-risk contacts, having people off work. We started short-handed from the beginning of the outbreak, so a lot of people went above and beyond doing extra shifts, helping out on other floors as well too.
Yeah, it's been exhausting for sure, but we have a really resilient staff. I don't know how they did it. What they did was nothing short of amazing for sure.
Craig Momney: How is morale now, and how do you keep it up during a situation like this?
Dr. Lee: The morale, it was just challenging for the last month. However, we're starting to see some good news, definitely, not only with the decrease in cases right now, but the vaccinations were opened up to the hospitals in our region.
As of Jan. 1, many of us have had our vaccinations. I think by the end of the week, most of us at the frontline will have our vaccinations, so that was just the glimmer of hope and its really the boost that we needed for morale because we didn't know until the day before the vaccinations started that they would be available.
We weren't too sure if it would be a week or even a couple of weeks.
Craig Momney: You mention vaccinations. Right now, vaccinations across the country are less than one per cent. Given what you've gone through and what you've seen, how important is it to get that vaccination out there?
Dr. Lee: I think the sooner, the better. But there's a lot of logistics, and I know that public health, as well as the hospitals and the long-term care facilities, are doing the best to expedite this.