Investigation into Selkirk hospital COVID-19 exposure ends with no additional cases of disease

By | April 10, 2020

A Selkirk hospital employee who went to work with respiratory symptoms for four days and later tested positive for COVID-19 did not pass disease on to anyone else, public health officials announced Friday.

On March 31, Manitoba chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin revealed a health-care worker who spent four days on the job in a Selkirk Regional Health Centre emergency ward while symptomatic was diagnosed with COVID-19.

The worker contracted the virus while travelling within Canada and returned to Manitoba before the province ordered people to self-isolate for 14 days following interprovincial travel, Roussin said.

The province had long advised sick people to stay at home.

“How a symptomatic person was working for … three days — I can’t answer that,” Roussin said on March 31.

On Friday, Manitoba Shared Health chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa said no other staff members at the Selkirk Regional Health Centre have tested positive for COVID-19 after coming into contact with this worker.

That investigation is over and all staff who self-isolated as part of that case can go back to work, she said.

Siragusa said the investigation showed why it’s important for people to stay home when they’re sick, and why hospital staff need to follow isolation protocols after a positive case is identified.

“This investigation is now closed,” Siragusa said. “It demonstrates the importance and the effectiveness of the robust public health contact-tracing process working rapidly to identify everyone who had been exposed and ensuring protocols were put in place,” she said.

Roussin said the province is closely watching the situation at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, where two employees and one of their close contacts tested positive for COVID-19.

Scientists at the lab are working around the clock on research into SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

“We want to take extra caution when we have a lot of people working in critical areas that not only are important obviously to their health, but to all of our health,” he said. “It’s something that we’re definitely following up on.”

Roussin said he had no information to offer about the investigation.

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