This note is a quick reminder that Health PEI has not yet relaxed our IPAC measures and will likely not do so for a while yet. We are entering our 4th month of a community COVID-19 surge that has resulted in very high rates of staff absenteeism, and for our size, high rates of hospitalization. As all know only too well, our system does not have a lot of resilience and this surge has pushed us to the limit. While other systems across the country have been able to redeploy staff to areas with high staff illness rates, we simply do not have the staff to do so.
Our rules for PPE, visitors, break and family rooms, common areas like cafeterias, and screening have not changed. We will of course scale these back, but only when the community epidemiology allows us to. If we relax measures too early, we will increase our risk of outbreaks, which severely disrupt our system. We currently have multiple outbreaks across the Island and this mostly prevents us from admitting to those areas. This in turn backs up our emergency departments which then puts pressure on us to try to find other inpatient beds, including unfortunately occasionally having to cancel some surgical procedures. Thus far, we have largely been able to avoid cancelling large numbers of procedures and we want to keep it that way.
There is some evidence that we are slowly coming down from this long drawn out wave of illness. It is my hope that we will be in a position to make some changes in the next several weeks.
Attached to this email is the most recent Visitation and COVID Guidance. As noted above, we are essentially maintaining our status quo for now, with the exception of one change removing testing requirements for travelers. While we expect changes in visitation in other non-Health PEI setting has started, the attached policy is in effect until further notice for our facilities.
CHANGES TO CARE LOCATION FOR PEDIATRIC, MATERNITY AND SURGICAL PATIENTS
COVID positive pediatric, maternity and surgical patients are now being admitted and cared for at both QEH and PCH sites. Mental health patients requiring admission to hospital will continue to be cared for at the QEH Mental Health Unit and Child and Adolescent Unit at Hillsborough Hospital. Information about this change was shared with clinical teams earlier this week.
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