5A, 5B and CSICU Outbreak FAQs

All St. Paul’s Hospital Patients, Family and Visitors

What happened?
On January 4, 2021 an outbreak was declared by a Medical Health Officer at St. Paul’s Hospital’s cardiac 5A unit. On January 10, 2021, this outbreak was expanded to include the 5B unit and the Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit (CSICU).
What is 5A, 5B and the CSICU?
At St. Paul’s Hospital the 5A/B Units and the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CSICU) are designated for caring for patients requiring specialized cardiac care. Most patients who had heart surgery will recover in the CSICU.
Is St. Paul’s Hospital still open and accepting patients?
St. Paul’s Hospital remains open and prepared to safely receive and care for all individuals who require urgent and emergent care. At this time, there is no impact on other areas of the hospital. 
 
Is it safe for patients and visitors to be at the hospital?

Yes. Patient and staff safety continues to be St. Paul’s Hospital’s top priority and care continues to be safe at the hospital. We declared this outbreak, in collaboration with Public Health, as a safety measure, and out of an abundance of caution.

Patients who need urgent and emergency care are strongly encouraged to continue to come to the hospital. Do not delay in seeking care as this can exacerbate your condition.

Everyone who arrives at the hospital is screened at the door for COVID-19 symptoms and given a mask to wear. There are separate areas of the Emergency Department patients with and patients without COVID-19 symptoms.

Are visitors to the hospital allowed?
Visitation to patients in the 5A, 5B or CSICU are currently suspended until outbreak measures are lifted, except for compassionate (end-of-life) visits. Visitors to other parts of St. Paul’s Hospital continue to be restricted to essential visits only. For more information about visitation, please click here.

 

My loved one is a patient at the hospital, what do I need to know?

Regardless of an outbreak, it is very difficult to have a loved one in the hospital; and we would like to reassure you that we are doing everything possible to keep them safe and continue to provide quality care.

Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care are taking critical steps to ensure the safety of patients, residents, staff and community with early identification of cases, prompt isolation, testing, monitoring and execution of proper infection, prevention and control practices. 

As part of our outbreak protocols we are not admitting new patients, but patients will be discharged from the unit per normal procedures, with information regarding self-isolation, wearing a mask, hand hygiene, and physical distancing, as well as connecting them with Public Health for follow up.

My family member or friend is on one of the outbreak units and is scared, why can’t I go visit them to comfort them?

 We hope you understand these new rules are in place as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of patients, staff and physicians. We understand and thank you for understanding this important public health intervention.

We can assure you this hospital is a safe place and these new visitation measures will give us the strongest infection control possible.  We will advise the public when these new rules are lifted.

Our teams will also work with you to connect virtually via phone or other virtual technology

When and why was the outbreak declared?
The outbreak on 5A was declared on January 4, 2021 following a positive COVID-19 test from a patient. All patients and staff were subsequently tested to determine if any transmission occurred.
How many people have been infected with COVID? Specifically, how many staff, patients and visitors?
Due to patient privacy and confidentiality, and to maintain the privacy of our staff, we are unable to give detailed numbers.
Have there been any deaths?
As of January 11, 2021, no deaths related to this outbreak have been reported.
Are there any units or services closed?
Only cardiac units’ 5A/B and the CSICU are currently closed to new admissions.
What are we doing to stop the spread?

A number of infection prevention and control measures were immediately implemented as part of our outbreak mitigation strategy, including but not limited to:

  • Careful monitoring of patients, staff and physicians
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfection of all high-touch surfaces
  • Closing the units to patient admissions and transfers
  • Cohorting of staff to the affected areas
  • Self-monitoring or self-isolation of staff/physicians as part of Public Health contact tracing
  • Suspension of visitors to the unit (with exemptions for end-of-life situations)
When will the outbreak be declared over and the affected units reopened?
The Medical Health Office is responsible for declaring an outbreak over.   Outbreaks are typically declared over 2 weeks following the first day with no positive COVID-19 tests. Also, variables specific to each facility will be taken into consideration and may impact this timeline.
Is this the first outbreak St. Paul’s Hospital has had?

No, St. Paul’s Hospital has managed two other outbreaks since the beginning of the pandemic.

  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • 8A Urban Health
Are all patients and staff in the hospital being tested?
All patients, staff, and physicians who work in 5A, 5B and the CSICU have been tested and/or retested for COVID 19 as required

Heart Centre Patients, Families and Visitors Overall

What’s being done to ensure there are no more infections on 5A, 5B, CSICU or other Heart centre areas?

A number of infection prevention and control measures were immediately implemented as part of our outbreak mitigation strategy, including but not limited to:

  • Careful monitoring of patients, staff and physicians
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfection of all high-touch surfaces
  • Closing the units to patient admissions and transfers
  • Cohorting of staff to the affected areas
  • Self-monitoring or self-isolation of staff/physicians as part of Public Health contact tracing
  • Suspension of visitors to the unit (with exemptions for end-of-life situations)
I was a patient or visitor on one of the outbreak units over the past couple weeks-do I need to get tested or quarantine?

On the evening of Jan 10, 2020, the Public Health Office declared that the Outbreak on Unit 5A of the Heart Centre has been extended to include 5B and the Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit (CSICU) at St. Paul’s Hospital.  The outbreak is contained on units 5A & 5B, as well as the CSICU.

If you were discharged from 5A, 5B or the CSICU recently, you will be followed up by Public Health if any additional instructions are required.

Please continue to self-monitor for any COVID symptoms and seek testing at a community centre for any symptoms. If you feel any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild, you are asked to stay home, isolate, and get tested for COVID-19.

Is it safe to receive care in the Heart Centre?
Yes, Patient care and services will be maintained in the areas that are not impacted by the outbreaks. As a provincial referral site for cardiac care, we will also continue to work with our regional and provincial partners, including Cardiac Services BC, to maintain access to cardiac care for patients and families.
Are any other areas besides 5A, 5B and CSICU of the Heart Centre impacted?
No, outbreak is contained on units 5A & 5B, as well as the CSICU.  Patient care and services will be maintained in the Heart Centre areas that are not affected by the outbreaks. As a provincial referral site for cardiac care, St. Paul’s continues to work with its regional and provincial partners, including Cardiac Services BC, to maintain access to cardiac care for patients and families.
If I have other questions about this outbreak not answered here, what can I do?
Please contact the PHC Communications team: communications@providencehealth.bc.ca

5A

What is 5A?
Unit 5A is located on the 5th floor of the Providence Building at St. Paul’s Hospital. This unit is part of the Heart Centre and is the Cardiology Ward.  5A is where patients with various cardiac conditions are cared for.
Is 5A closed for new admissions and transfers?
Yes.
Are patients receiving care on 5A safe?

Yes. Patient’s currently receiving care on 5A remain safe as we have implemented infection prevention and control measures, including:

  • Careful monitoring of patients, staff and physicians
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfection of all high-touch surfaces
  • Closing the units to patient admissions and transfers
  • Cohorting of staff to the affected areas
  • Self-monitoring or self-isolation of staff/physicians as part of Public Health contact tracing
  • Suspension of visitors to the unit (with exemptions for end-of-life situations)
Is visitation allowed?
These units are closed to new admissions and transfers at this time. All visitation has been suspended until the outbreak measures have been lifted, with the exception of compassionate visits for those at the end of life.
Are any procedures or clinics being rescheduled? If so, how will I know?
Clinics are not being cancelled.  We will contact those patients whose procedures may need to be rescheduled via telephone. If you are concerned or have any questions about an upcoming procedure or appointment, please contact our Communications team: communications@providencehealth.bc.ca 
How are patients and families being communicated to about the outbreak?
We will continue to communicate with patients and families through email and phone correspondence. If at any time you have a question, please contact the PHC Communications team and will be sure to direct your question to the appropriate group/contact. Email: communications@providencehealth.bc.ca
Are there any special precautions that I or my loved one needs to take once I am discharged home?
We ask that you self-monitor for symptoms. If you have questions and/or you experience any symptoms, please contact your primary care provider or Public Health by dialing 8-1-1 on your telephone.

5B

What is 5B?
Unit 5B is located on the 5th floor of the Providence Building at St. Paul’s Hospital. This unit primarily oversees the post-operative recovery of cardiac surgery patients.
Is 5B closed for new admissions and transfers?
Yes.
Are patients receiving care on 5B safe?

Yes. Patient’s currently receiving care on 5B remain safe as we have implemented infection prevention and control measures, including:

  • Careful monitoring of patients, staff and physicians
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfection of all high-touch surfaces
  • Closing the units to patient admissions and transfers
  • Cohorting of staff to the affected areas
  • Self-monitoring or self-isolation of staff/physicians as part of Public Health contact tracing
  • Suspension of visitors to the unit (with exemptions for end-of-life situations)
Is visitation allowed?
 All visitation has been suspended until the outbreak measures have been lifted, with the exception of compassionate visits for those at the end of life.
Are any procedures or clinics being rescheduled?  If so, how will I know?
We will contact those patients whose procedures and clinic appointments have been cancelled via telephone. If you are concerned or have any questions about an upcoming procedure or appointment, please contact our Communications team: communications@providencehealth.bc.ca  
How are patients and families being communicated to about the outbreak?
We will continue to communicate with patients and families through email and phone correspondence. If at any time you have a question, please contact the PHC Communications team and will be sure to direct your question to the appropriate group/contact. Email: communications@providencehealth.bc.ca
Are there any special precautions that I or my loved one needs to take once I am discharged home?
We ask that you self-monitor for symptoms. If you have questions and/or you experience any symptoms, please contact your primary care provider or Public Health by dialing 8-1-1 on your telephone.

CSICU

What happens on the CSICU?
The CSICU cares for patients who are awaiting or who have recently had cardiac surgery.
Is the CSICU closed for new admissions and transfers?
Yes.
Are patients receiving care in the CSICU safe?

Yes. Patient’s currently receiving care on 5A remain safe as we have implemented infection prevention and control measures, including:

  • Careful monitoring of patients, staff and physicians
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfection of all high-touch surfaces
  • Closing the units to patient admissions and transfers
  • Cohorting of staff to the affected areas
  • Self-monitoring or self-isolation of staff/physicians as part of Public Health contact tracing
  • Suspension of visitors to the unit (with exemptions for end-of-life situations)
Is visitation allowed?
All visitation has been suspended until the outbreak measures have been lifted, with the exception of compassionate visits for those at the end of life.
Are any procedures or clinics being rescheduled? If so, how will I know?
We will contact those patients whose procedures and clinic appointments have been cancelled via telephone. If you are concerned or have any questions about an upcoming procedure or appointment, please contact our Communications team: communications@providencehealth.bc.ca 
How are patients and families being communicated to about the outbreak?
We will continue to communicate with patients and families through email and phone correspondence. If at any time you have a question, please contact the PHC Communications team and will be sure to direct your question to the appropriate group/contact. Email: communications@providencehealth.bc.ca
Are there any special precautions that I or my loved one needs to take once I am discharged home?
We ask that you self-monitor for symptoms. If you have questions and/or you experience any symptoms, please contact your primary care provider or Public Health by dialing 8-1-1 on your telephone.

Transplant

Are heart transplants still happening at St. Paul’s Hospital?
At this time, there is no indication that heart transplants will be put on hold at St. Paul’s Hospital. We continue to work with our partners to ensure continued care as we manage this outbreak.

For Physician Offices

Can I still refer patients to the Heart Centre at St. Paul’s Hospital?
Yes. Patients can still be referred to the Heart Centre however there may be delays in follow up as we manage this outbreak. We appreciate and thank you for your patience as we handle this outbreak.