Babies moved from St. Paul’s neonatal ICU after Covid-19 outbreak

    Vancouver – St. Paul’s Hospital has relocated all babies out of their Neonatal ICU unit after a Covid-19 exposure in the unit.

    A Vancouver Coastal Health medical officer is working with hospital staff to sanitize the NICU.

    “The NICU is undergoing a thorough and terminal clean and will be reopened when the outbreak is declared over by the Medical Health Officer,” said Providence Health spokesman Shaf Hussain.

    “For the meantime, we have set up a satellite NICU, completely separate from the existing NICU, to take care of newly-delivered babies requiring that level of care and support,” he said.

    “The maternity unit remains open.”

    The outbreak was declared by Public Health. Staff exposure is not believed to have happened.

    Only the NICU is involved and the rest of the hospital is working fine.

    “After review by Infection Control, there is no evidence of any staff exposures,” Hussain stated.

     “A VCH Medical Health Officer is leading the outbreak response and is working closely with the staff at St. Paul’s and Providence Health Care to ensure appropriate precautions are in place for the safety of all.

     “As with any outbreak in our region, we have strict infection control protocols that are immediately followed when a COVID-19 outbreak is declared. 

    “We continue to ask our staff, patients and families to remain vigilant and immediately self-isolate and report any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection.”

     “The health and safety of patients and health care providers remains our utmost priority and we will continue to work every day to ensure patients receive the care they need,” the spokesman said.

    At this point it seems a non-staff person is suspected to be the single identified case.

    It’s not clear if the infected person is a parent of a newborn child or someone else.

    Because of Covid-19 concerns a single partner is able to stay with the mom in a separate single room. But movement around corridors is not allowed. Food and other needs are delivered by staff.

    “We also operate a Level 2A Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for babies who require intensive nursing observation and care and have in-house obstetric and anaesthesia coverage, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”