Current Outbreaks

St. Paul's Hospital

The outbreak on Unit 9D, Geriatric Medicine, has been declared over by Public Health, effective Thursday, February 18. 

In recent weeks, other outbreaks at St. Paul's Hospital that have been declared over were on units 5A, 5B, CSICU, 6B, 7C and 8A. 

Outbreak management is being guided by a Medical Health Officer from VCH Public Health.

As with any outbreak, strict infection prevention and control protocols are being implemented to minimize any further exposure and spread of COVID, including:

  • Out of an abundance of caution, all patients in Medical and Surgical units at the hospital are on contact and droplet precautions.
  • Enhanced cleaning is underway. Additional housekeeping staff are being brought in to deep clean units with COVID-19 positive cases.
  • Testing of all patients and staff working in affected areas.
  • Careful and continued monitoring of patients, staff and physicians.
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfection of all high-touch surfaces.
  • Closure of affected units to patient admissions/transfers.
  • Self-monitoring or self-isolation of staff/physicians as required.
  • Cohorting patients and care teams most appropriately.
  • Suspension of visitors to the unit (with exemptions for end-of-life situations).  

General FAQS

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; 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 to the units with declared outbreaks. However, when ready, patients will be discharged from these units per normal procedures with information regarding self-isolation, wearing a mask, hand hygiene, 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 appreciate 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.

Are visitors allowed to the hospital?
Visitations to patients in units where outbreaks have been called (see list of Current Outbreak above) are suspended until outbreak measure are lifted, except for compassionate (end-of-life) visits. Visits planned for all our areas at St. Paul’s Hospital can continue. All other visitation rules remain unchanged. For more information about visitation, please go here.
When did the latest cluster of outbreaks start?

The outbreak on 5A was declared on January 4, 2021 after a patient tested positive, and expanded on January 10, 2021 to include 5B, and the Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit (CSICU).The CSICU outbreak has been declared over and is open for patients again.

The outbreak on 6B was declared on January 20, 2021 after a patient tested positive.

The outbreak on 7C was declared on January 22, 2021 after a patient tested positive.

The outbreak on 8A was declared on January 28, 2021 after a patient tested positive.

The outbreak on 9D was declared on January 30, 2021 after a patient tested positive.

Have there been any deaths?

As of January 29, 2021, no deaths related to this outbreak have been reported.

Are there any units or services closed?

No other units or services are closed due to this outbreak.

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 and continued monitoring of patients, staff and physicians
  • Enhanced cleaning is underway. Additional housekeeping staff are being brought in to deep clean units with COVID-19 positive cases. 
  • 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)
  • Testing of all patients and staff working in affected areas
When will the unit-specific 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. Variables specific to each facility will be taken into consideration and may impact this timeline.

Has St. Paul’s Hospital had other COVID-19 outbreaks before?

St. Paul’s Hospital has managed the following outbreaks since the beginning of the pandemic.

  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • 8A Urban Health
  • 5A, 5B, & Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit (CSICU)
  • 6B Renal
  • 7C General Medicine
  • 9D Geriatric Medicine
Are all patients and staff in the hospital being tested?
All patients, staff, and physicians who worked on the units with outbreaks have been tested or will be tested in the coming days.
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.

If you were discharged from a unit now declared under outbreak 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.

What areas are impacted?

Please see the Current Outbreaks listed above.

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?

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.