Third death reported in Foothills outbreak; provincial nurses union says morale low

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The patients who have tested positive or have exhibited symptoms of the novel coronavirus are isolated and treated in designated rooms. Patients are being screened for COVID-19 twice a day and there are temperature checks in place at unit entrances for visitors, AHS said.

Visitors are only allowed access to the units in end-of-life situations or as essential visitors.

“We want to remind Albertans that anyone who is exhibiting symptoms should not be visiting patients in hospital,” said AHS.

With so many staff members isolating, the hospital is using overtime and reassignment to cover shifts. AHS has multiple staff swabbing sites at the hospital to increase testing capacity for staff on outbreak units. They are screened twice a day.

Staff are also encouraged to take their breaks outside and adhere to physical distancing.

Harrigan said morale continues to drop and, he feels, AHS has made the situation worse.

“People have to work additional overtime and people are being asked to pick up additional shifts. We’ve heard from a number of our members that are phoning to say, ‘look, I’ve worked eight to nine consecutive days, this is starting to become too much,’ ” he said.

He doesn’t know if anything will change if the outbreak at Foothills continues to get worse.

AHS said Wednesday the origin of the outbreaks remains unknown.

“Multiple teams are working daily to determine where the infection may have started, how it was transmitted and who needs to be contacted and tested to limit exposure,” AHS said. “This is standard procedure in our contact tracing that we implement with any outbreak.”

Hospitalizations surge in Alberta; 143 new cases

The number of Albertans hospitalized with COVID-19 increased to 59 on Wednesday, up from 51 Tuesday. Included in those hospitalizations are 13 patients in intensive-care units, up from nine.

Alberta reported 143 new cases in Wednesday’s update, bringing the total number of active cases to 1,520. The newly detected cases are from 12,317 tests completed on Tuesday, about a 1.2 per cent positive rate.

The Edmonton zone still has the highest number of active cases with 821, followed by the Calgary zone with 481.

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