Risk of flu greater than coronavirus – hospital

North Bay Regional Health Centre prepared should coronavirus find its way here

North Bay Regional Health Centre File Photo jpg, NB

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North Bay Regional Health Centre says the risk of influenza is greater to the community than coronavirus.

“We continue to see influenza circulating through the community and are presently experiencing peaking levels,” said Mark Daniw, manager of infection prevention and control.

“This includes higher volumes of patients with respiratory illnesses. At this time, we believe the risk of influenza is greater to the community than coronavirus.”

Ontario has one confirmed case of the recently identified novel coronavirus. The patient’s wife also has contracted the illness.

As of Tuesday, 19 cases are under investigation in Ontario.

The first positive case came from a Toronto man in his mid-50s who tested positive at a provincial facility days after returning to Toronto from Wuhan – the virus’s epicentre in China – via Guangzhou.

The testing process is now being repeated for the man’s wife, who is believed to be the second coronavirus patient in the country.

A 40-year-old B.C. resident tested positive after retuning to B.C. from Wuhan.

The virus has claimed more than 100 lives and infected more than 4,000 people in China.

The North Bay hospital says the risk is low, but it is prepared.

“The North Bay Regional Health Centre has effective practices to quickly screen, isolate and treat patients for a number of travel-related illnesses including coronavirus, Ebola and Middle East respiratory syndrome,” Daniw said.

“Every patient who presents to the emergency department is screened and in the event a patient meets the criteria, they would immediately bypass our waiting room and be brought to one of the emergency department’s negative pressure isolation rooms.”

Daniw said the hospital’s infection prevention and control department is in regular contact with Public Health Ontario and the local health unit regarding best practices and any changes in status within the community.

Daniw said there are many elements of the health centre built with infection prevention and control in mind.

“NBRHC’s emergency department has three negative pressure rooms. These negative pressure (isolation) rooms prevent cross-contamination from room to room. The ventilation is designed to prevent contaminated air from escaping the patient’s room. Each isolation room has an “ante-room” as a buffer between the patient’s room and the rest of the hospital. Staff use this space to put on (personal protective equipment) before entering the negative pressure room,” Daniw said.

The hospital also has the ability to create an isolation floor.

“One of our medical floors (D3) can be converted to a 10-bed isolation unit if needed.”

Daniw said the hospital also has 22 negative pressure isolation rooms.

“Air from the isolation rooms are vented to the exterior of the facility and pass through HEPA filters and UV light to kill any germs,” Daniw said.

“All isolation rooms within the facility are monitored through a building automation system to ensure proper operation. Every room is equipped with an audible and visual alarm to notify staff and maintenance if an isolation room loses negative pressure.”

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