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Five dead, admissions limited as Burnaby Hospital COVID-19 outbreak escalates

Fraser Health says Nov. 15 fire has contributed to spread of COVID-19 outbreak
burnaby hospital
Burnaby Hospital.

The COVID-19 outbreak at Burnaby Hospital has been a deadly one.

Fraser Health issued an update on Tuesday afternoon, saying that 55 Burnaby Hospital patients have tested positive for COVID-19.

There have also been five deaths. There are also 40 staff cases that are under investigation to determine if they are connected to the outbreak, said a Fraser Health news release.

A COVID-19 outbreak was declared at Burnaby Hospital on Nov. 9 after evidence of transmission in a medicine unit. Upon declaring the outbreak, Fraser Health immediately implemented precautions, including enhanced cleaning, as well as contact tracing.

“We continue to monitor the outbreak closely and do everything we can to support patients and staff through this outbreak,” said the release. “Enhanced infection control measures have been implemented in each of these units and throughout the hospital. For instance, physical distancing measures are in place in the cafeteria to ensure staff are safely apart, our staff break rooms have limits on how many people can be there at one time, and people are encouraged to maintain physical distancing in elevators.”

burnaby hospital fire
Burnaby Fire Department at the scene of a fire at Burnaby Hospital. Ryan Stelting photo

All patients, staff, support staff and medical staff are tested for COVID-19, said Fraser Health.

As a precaution, the hospital is not accepting new admissions at this time, with the exception of the intensive care unit (ICU), maternity, and community palliative care. Patients who require hospital admissions in other areas are admitted to neighbouring hospitals.

“We expect to open to emergency admissions in the coming days,” said Fraser Health.

Following the fire at Burnaby Hospital on Nov. 15, the emergency department remains fully operational.

“An RCMP investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing. The remediation process in underway and ongoing. Some areas that were impacted have been reopened. At the time of the fire, the immediate safety of our patients was our priority, which meant that some were moved to areas of the hospital they normally would not be placed in a short period of time. As a result, the fire is considered to be a contributing factor to the outbreak.”