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Outbreaks Status

TWH - Units 8A & 8B
Date declared: October 15, 2020
Staff affected: 7
Patients affected: 3
(As of October 23)

TR - UC - 7 South
Date declared: October 21, 2020
Staff affected: 1
Patients affected: 4
(As of October 26)

Wave 1: March - June

TWH - Unit 4B
Date declared: April 18, 2020
Declared over: May 14, 2020

TWH - Units 8A & 8B COVID positive units
Date declared: April 28, 2020
Declared over: May 16, 2020

TWH - Unit 3B
Date declared: April 29, 2020
Declared over: May 20, 2020

TWH - Emergency Department
Date declared: May 13, 2020
Declared over: May 22, 2020

TWH - Unit 9A
Date declared: May 8, 2020
Declared over: June 1, 2020

Total staff affected by these outbreaks: 61
Cumulative to June 5, 2020, when the last outbreak was declared over. Please visit our COVID homepage for updated staff testing numbers.

Questions About Outbreaks

How Do You Define An Outbreak?

The definition of a COVID-19 outbreak in a hospital is set by the province of Ontario. It is declared when there is evidence of transmission of the disease within the hospital on a single unit. Below is how we decide if there is a COVID-19 outbreak at UHN, where we have a low threshold to declaring an outbreak. Declaring an outbreak lets us put in additional measures to work towards preventing further transmission.

Definition of a COVID-19 outbreak involving patients and staff
When we have one hospital-acquired patient case, we investigate and initiate outbreak measures to mitigate risk while discussing the situation with Toronto Public Health. Sometimes we call an outbreak on just the one case, depending on the situation. Other times we continue with heightened precautions. If a second case in a patient or staff member occurs within 14 days, an outbreak may be called.

Definition of a COVID-19 outbreak involving staff only
If two or more cases occur within 14 days and there is reasonable concern for acquisition of infection within the hospital in these cases – an outbreak is called.

For non-COVID, communicable disease outbreaks, UHN defines an outbreak as an occurrence of cases of an infectious disease in excess of what would normally be expected on a clinical unit or units, where patient safety is deemed to be at risk. Read UHN’s outbreak policy  to learn more about how we handle communicable disease outbreaks at our hospitals.


Who declares an outbreak?

It is a joint decision made by UHN – with our Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) and Occupational Health teams – and Toronto Public Health.


What steps is UHN taking to address the outbreaks?

For all outbreaks

  • An outbreak management team comes together to work with staff on the unit and implement control measures to prevent further transmission among patients and staff.
  • Testing of all staff and patients on the affected unit.
  • Contact tracing where appropriate for possible exposure of patients and staff.
  • Thorough terminal clean and enhanced ongoing cleaning of the unit, including all common areas on the unit.
  • Reinforcement of general IPAC practices around use of PPE, disinfection of shared equipment, movement of people onto and within the unit, and adherence to social distancing requirements.
  • Review all processes in detail to ensure we’ve done everything possible to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • PPE coaches who are already available across UHN for added support of staff, visit the area to further support staff in donning and doffing PPE.

Additional Measures at Toronto Western (October 2020)

  • Terminal cleaning of common spaces and locker room
  • The number of housekeeping staff has been increased for daily enhanced cleaning measures.
  • Testing for COVID-19 of all staff, along with contact tracing, as appropriate.
  • Cohorting of any shared staff (NRT, Allied Health, Housekeeping etc.).
  • IPAC has conducted an environmental assessment, including a review of measures in place to encourage physical distancing.

Additional Measures at Toronto Rehab (October 2020)

  • Symptom surveillance of patients and staff on affected unit.
  • Testing of patients, and relevant staff and physicians. Re-testing planned for patients on affected units.
  • Contact tracing for positive patients and staff, as appropriate.
  • Conducting an environmental assessment, including a review of measures in place to encourage physical distancing.
  • Terminal clean of the unit has been completed, and other areas requiring a terminal clean will be completed.
  • Limiting movement of staff, physicians, residents and learners from the outbreak unit.

On-going UHN-wide measures throughout the pandemic

All staff continue to be asked to:

  • Practice physical distancing, especially during break times.
  • Wear a mask at all times, in keeping with our universal masking policy.
  • Not share food due to risk of contamination with COVID-19 and transmission to others.
  • Diligently perform hand hygiene at all times.
  • Self-monitor for symptoms, stay home if sick, and call Occupational Health hotline for guidance if experiencing symptoms.

Should I be worried about coming to the hospital?

Our hospitals remain open and there is no reason to be worried about coming to any UHN hospital or our Emergency Departments. All UHN hospitals remain safe places to receive care.

If you are a patient with concerns about coming to the hospital, please contact Patient Relations at 416 340 4907 or patientrelations@uhn.ca, who can answer your questions and provide support.