EDMONTON — Three more patients linked to a COVID-19 outbreak at an Edmonton hospital have died.
Catholic health provider Covenant Health, which runs the Misericordia Community Hospital in the city’s west end, says a total of six patients have now died due to the outbreak.
It says 16 other patients have tested positive, along with 16 staff.
Health officials declared a full outbreak at the facility on Wednesday and said it would not be admitting new patients.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro says his thoughts are with the families of the patients who have died.
He says his department is monitoring the outbreak and he has full confidence that measures are in place to prevent further spread of infections.
“Our hospitals remain safe, and this outbreak is being managed as safely and effectively as possible,” he said Thursday in a statement posted on Twitter.
“I know the physicians, staff and volunteers at the Misericordia are working extremely hard in challenging circumstances, and I thank them for the care they’re providing.”
The 312-bed hospital also closed its emergency department, is not allowing visitors, except in end-of-life situations, and is postponing day procedures.
Dr. Owen Heisler, chief medical officer for Covenant Health, said in a release that the safety of everyone at the hospital is a priority.
“Covenant Health, Alberta Health Services and our teams continue to work tirelessly and collaboratively, taking every possible step to respond with compassion to this challenging situation and to ensure a safe environment for care.”
On Thursday, the province reported 37 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 8,519 infections in Alberta. There are 584 active cases and 46 people are in hospital. So far, 161 people have died.
Alberta’s privacy commissioner also released her report Thursday into the province’s voluntary COVID-19 tracing smartphone app.
Jill Clayton said the ABTraceTogether app collects among the least amount of personal information compared to similar technologies around the world. It tracks anyone the user is in close contact with and alerts them if they have been near someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
But when it comes to Apple cellphones, Clayton said the app only runs on those devices when they are unlocked, which increases the risk of theft of personal information. The risk increases for employers in the public, health and private sectors that provide workers with Apple phones, she said.
Clayton recommended the province publicly report on the use and effectiveness of the app and its plans to dismantle it when the pandemic is over.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2020
The Canadian Press