As of late Saturday, November 21 The Drumheller Mail was informed, "The outbreak now also includes the Coalbanks, or supportive living, unit where Alberta Health Services (AHS) is investigating a second confirmed case. Additionally, a fourth case has been confirmed in acute care linked to the outbreak there."
The Drumheller Health Centre is pausing acute care admissions as an outbreak at the facility has been declared.
The Mail learned late on Friday, November 20 Alberta Health Services (AHS) declared a COVID-19 outbreak in acute care at the Drumheller Health Centre. At this time, there are three confirmed cases linked to the outbreak. Additionally, there is a single confirmed COVID-19 case in supportive living at the site.
AHS Public Health is carrying out their robust contract tracing process and potential contacts are being directly contacted to encourage testing and provide guidance for self-isolation as needed to reduce the possibility of spread.
In response to the outbreak, AHS has implemented a series of temporary measures at the Drumheller Health Centre to ensure the safety of patients, residents, staff and physicians. These measures include temporarily pausing new acute care admissions, postponing non-urgent and elective surgeries that require post-operative care and temporarily diverting non-urgent obstetrical patients to Stettler or Olds.
Patients are being directly contacted to discuss postponing surgery and referrals to support in-hospital births.
The emergency department remains open and those in need of urgent care will receive it. This includes emergency births which will continue to be supported at the site. Patients who require acute care admission will be stabilized and transferred by EMS to nearby facilities for appropriate care. Drumheller does not have ICU beds, so any patients requiring that level of specialized care will be transferred into Red Deer or Calgary as per usual process. Drumheller has portable ventilators on-site to help stabilize patients before transport as needed, and mobile ventilators can be used by EMS during patient transport if necessary.
There are also enhanced visitor restrictions in place at the Drumheller Health Centre in acute care and supportive living at this time.
“The site leadership has been preparing for these types of situations since the pandemic began, and are working almost around the clock to keep staff, patients and the community safe,” said Dr. Rithesh Ram.
AHS recognizes that these temporary measures and visitor restrictions can be frustrating and that patients may be concerned about their care. These are not decisions it makes lightly or without thorough review with the Medical Officer of Health and clinical leadership.
Such actions are necessary to ensure the safety of patients, residents, staff and physicians at the facility during this outbreak