In response to a COVID-19 outbreak impacting two units at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre (RDRHC), and a significant rise in the demands for services due to the virus, Alberta Health Services (AHS) will be restricting visitors at the facility to protect patients, staff and physicians.
These restrictions are being taken out of an abundance of caution after two positive cases of COVID-19 connected to two units at the site were identified – the first case confirmed on July 16 and the second on July 21 – and as the site continues to see an increase in patients with high acuity who require the specialized care only RDRHC provides in Central Zone.
Beginning today, visitors will only be permitted in end-of-life situations, when accompanying maternity and pediatric patients, or for those patients who with cognitive or mobility impairments.
“We are taking this situation extremely seriously and have taken swift action,” said Kimberly Storey, AHS Senior Operating Officer for RDRHC. “Restricting visitors is not a decision we’ve made lightly. We recognize the benefit to our patients when they’re able to have friends and family come visit them.
“This is a necessary step to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in our facility, and to keep our patients and healthcare providers safe.”
Contact tracing is ongoing to identity all individuals who have had close contact with the two confirmed cases, and all patients and staff on those two units are being swabbed and tested. Risk to patients, physicians and staff is minimal.
The hospital remains open and all services are operational, including the emergency department, surgeries and all inpatient and ambulatory care. Patient care continues uninterrupted across the facility.
While the visitor restrictions are in place, one Designated Family/Support Person may accompany a patient who is under the age of 18, and in situations where a patient has cognitive or mobility restrictions.
Screeners will greet all Designated Family/Support Persons, conduct health screenings and verify that the people are authorized to enter the site.
Any Designated Family/Support person must:
- Be feeling well on the date/time of entry into the facility.
- Complete health screening prior to entering the facility.
- Wear Designated Family/Support identification, which is provided by the screeners, for visiting inpatients.
- Continuously wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth.
- Remain with the patient and minimize movement throughout the facility. This means avoiding spaces such as the cafeteria.
- Perform hand hygiene (hand washing and/or use of hand sanitizer) when entering and leaving the facility and when entering and leaving the patient’s room.
Workplace Health and Safety and Infection Prevention and Control teams are working closely with facility leadership and the Central Zone Medical Officers of Health to ensure RDRHC remains safe.
A number of protocols are in place to minimize the risk of spread, including enhanced environmental cleaning, ensuring continuous masking practices are being followed, and ensuring proper usage of PPE.
“Our teams are taking every possible step to respond with compassion to this challenging situation and to ensure a safe environment for care,” said Dr. Michael Mulholland, Facility Medical Director for RDRHC.
“We have robust response plans in place to mitigate outbreak situations when they occur, and we’re collaborating with teams across the zone to ensure we continue to have capacity to care for those who need our services.”