COVID-19 outbreak at Yorkton Regional Health Centre

Services remain open

An active COVID-19 outbreak declared at the Yorkton Regional Health Cntre has the Intensive Case Unit and two general medical wards affected.

At present there are seven patients hospitalized in Yorkton because of COVID-19, one of those in intensive care.

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To-date the outbreak has impacted 18 staff, reported Janna-Lea Yawney, interim Director for Acute Care Yorkton in a telephone press conference Friday.

"They are from various health care disciplines," she explained.

Overall 34 cases "are included in relation to this outbreak," continued Yawney.

"Any staff identified as a possible close contact, or a positive, have been off work," added Yawney.

In addition, other staff, a number Yawney said she did not have at her fingertips Friday, are off because they are self-isolating as a precautionary measure.

How the outbreak began remains unknown.

"It's very difficult to pinpoint how this outbreak started," offered Yawney, adding officials "continue to work through" the process of "identifying the source and the spread."

As for vaccinating hospital front-line staff, that has not yet began in Yorkton, and the arrival of the first doses of the vaccine are unknown, a situation made more uncertain by delays in the manufacture of the vaccines.

"We are preparing all front-line workers ... doing the preparation ... for when the vaccine rolls out," said Yawney, adding they want to be ready when the vaccine is available.

As for services, Yawney said the facility remains open and that people should feel safe attending YRHC for services as needed, including emergency, x-ray and lab services.

At this point the YRHC is able to provide services, while ensuring the safety of both patients and staff, said Yawney.

In some cases, such as the chemotherapy program at YRHC, while being maintained, are being moved within the facility starting Monday, Jan. 25, to further distance patients from the outbreak because of their greater susceptibility.

Even the ICU,which has a capacity for six patients, and could be doubled if the need arises, remains operational, albeit with additional safety protocols in place, said Yawney.

"We're still able to maintain services," said Yawney, adding keeping the ICU operational has been important as it "is the only ICU in the area."

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