Pasqua Hospital employee showing COVID-19 symptoms tested for virus, nurses' union says
REGINA -- The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses says one of 34 employees considered non-contact with a COVID-19 patient at Regina's Pasqua Hospital is now exhibiting symptoms of the virus.
Tracy Zambory, the president of SUN and a registered nurse, told CTV News the employee was self-monitoring prior to showing symptoms and is now in the process of being tested.
"That is very concerning, because that would lead one to believe someone who is an employee who is a non-contact would be someone who is probably not tied to a particular ward, meaning they would traverse the hospital," Zambory said. ”Doing their work would take them all over the place rather than just that 4B unit at the Pasqua."
SUN now says 38 other employees considered to have been in contact with the patient are currently in self isolation awaiting tests for the virus.
SUN is calling on the province to declare an outbreak at the hospital after officials announced the case was being investigated Thursday.
"It would give context to people to understand that we now have a tertiary centre in Saskatchewan that is on outbreak, it is vitally important that people then follow the rules of physical distancing, of self monitoring, staying home if you're not well, good hand hygiene," Zambory said.
At the time of Thursday's update, Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said it was not considered an outbreak as there was "no evidence of any transmission”.
"This is just an example of there’s no outbreak, but there’s a case within a healthcare setting and an investigation happening in terms of have others been exposed," Shahab said during Thursday's update.
The NDP says more clarity is needed on the criteria to declare an outbreak, after one case at Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert earlier this month.
"I think there should be consistency," NDP Leader Ryan Meili said in a virtual press conference Friday. "If they’re going to call it an outbreak when there’s one case in one hospital, that should be the same in other hospitals.”
SUN primarily wants an outbreak declared due to the increase in precautions it brings for both patients and staff like ramped up testing and closure of certain areas of the hospital.
"I do believe they're doing some of those things at the Pasqua, but because we've decided it doesn't fit the criteria for whatever reason some of those things haven't been done," Zambory said. “If we look at the [Prince Albert] experience, because they did things so rapidly, things were closed, they were able to contain COVID-19. It did not spread."
The person who tested positive at the Pasqua Hospital was living at an independent-living facility prior to being admitted.
As of Friday evening, the patient at the hospital is considered Regina's only active case of COVID-19.