Public health officials monitoring outbreaks at Toronto Western and St. Joseph's Hospital


Public health officials continue to monitor two outbreaks at a pair of hospitals in Toronto.

At least 29 patients and staff have been infected.

The University Health Network confirms to Newstalk1010 that three patients and six staff members at Toronto Western Hospital have tested positive for the virus, since Friday.

Our media partner CP24 reports that the outbreak at Toronto Western occurred in two units at the general internal medicine department - in unit 8A and unit 8B.  The units are located in the hospital's Fell Pavilion. 

This is not the first outbreak at Toronto Western. Back in April, the hospital dealt with their first outbreak. There have been others since then.

Meantime, four units at St. Joseph's Hospital have been dealing with an outbreak there.

In a statement, Unity Health says as of this morning, St. Joseph's is treating 16 admitted patients in their COVID-19 unit. Of that number, seven are active patient cases, attributed to the outbreak, while 13 staff members at the hospital have tested positive for the virus.

CTV News is reporting that the infections are linked to four units within the hospital facility: the 2E unit and the 4E unit, as well as the 2L medicine unit and the 3M unit.

The outbreaks are said to have first occurred in each unit between October 3rd and October 16th.

Toronto Mayor John Tory reacted to news of the outbreaks this morning: "An outbreak can be as few as two cases. That's the expression, so it sounds larger and I know it has been a slightly larger number of staff and patients and it's still of great concern, but the one thing people have to know about the hospitals and Toronto Public Health is that they have incredibly rigid protocols they put in place immediately upon one case coming into the hospital, let alone more, and so they do things like sealing off those areas of the hospital and so on, to keep it safe for everybody else, but of course, when it's in a hospital or anywhere else, it's of great concern, but I'm confident that in the case of St. Joe's and (the) Western Hospital - you have two excellent organizations that have already taken measures to make sure everyone is kept safe."

Officials are assuring the public that the outbreaks have been contained to particular units, and it is still safe to go to the hospitals, if you are in need of medical assistance.

CTV News Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Abdu Sharkawy also commented on this latest outbreak.

"There's no question this was more or less inevitable given the case counts that we've been witnessing over the last few weeks. It was just a matter of time, before that would spill over into the hospital environment. That being said, it's obviously not something that we take lightly, at all. And...there are a number of different protocols in place to ensure that the situation is addressed swiftly."