Effective today, the Niagara Health System (NHS) is restricting visitors at the St. Catharines General Site as part of our enhanced infection prevention and control measures due to a C. difficile outbreak.
As a temporary measure, daily visiting hours will change from 2 to 8 p.m. to 4 to 8 p.m. to reduce the amount of traffic in patient areas. Visitors must be 13 years of age or older except for compassionate reasons. The long-standing visiting policy restricts the number of visitors to two per patient at one time, and that requirement will be enforced.
“We appreciate that families and visitors are concerned about their loves ones and want to visit, and the revised visiting policy reflects that while protecting the health and safety of everyone,” says Vice President Patient Services Anne Atkinson. “These temporary measures are compassionate and flexible to meet the changing priorities we are facing with the C. difficile outbreak.”
Visitors are asked not to visit multiple patient rooms when they come to hospital. Please only visit one patient room during any outing to the hospital during the outbreak. Visitors should clean their hands upon entering and leaving the hospital, and should not visit the hospital if they are feeling ill. Visitors may be required to wear protective equipment, which includes gowns and gloves, when visiting patients. Visitors are not to come to hospital to visit patients if they feel ill.
The Emergency Department is open. The ability to proceed with elective surgeries is being assessed daily based on each case and bed availability due to the number of patients in isolation. So far, 2 elective surgeries have been postponed, with 8 additional cases on Wednesday. Emergency surgeries that could potentially affect the patients’ outcome will not be postponed.
A total of 24 patients have tested positive for C. difficile as part of the outbreak, declared May 28, 2011, in conjunction with Niagara Region Public Health. There are currently 18 cases of C. difficile in hospital.
There have been two deaths and two new hospital-acquired cases of C. difficile associated with the outbreak.