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ALERT CONTENT PLACEHOLDER
There are currently no COVID-19 outbreaks at UHN hospitals.

There are currently no COVID-19 outbreaks.

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

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

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

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

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

There are currently no COVID-19 outbreaks. Please visit our COVID homepage for updated staff testing numbers.

Total staff affected by outbreaks: 61
Cumulative to June 5, 2020, when the last outbreak was declared over. This number is no longer being updated, as there are currently no COVID-19 outbreaks at UHN hospitals.

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 defined as at least two cases within a 14-day period where both could reasonably have been acquired in the hospital. 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 occurs within 14 days, an outbreak is 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) team – and Toronto Public Health. IPAC works collaboratively with Occupational Health to obtain essential information to understand if there is an outbreak.


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 for possible exposure of patients and staff.
  • Thorough terminal clean and enhanced ongoing cleaning of 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

  • Reviewing the care model for COVID and non-COVID patients to minimize movement of staff.
  • Enhanced support of Occupational Health, to help contact tracing and surveillance to be done more quickly.
  • All staff throughout TWH are being offered voluntary testing for COVID-19. Additionally, we have implemented mandatory testing for all Emergency Department staff. The first test is immediate, then at day 7, and again at day 14.
  • All patients at TWH had one-time testing, regardless of symptoms, to ensure no additional cases were undetected outside of outbreak units.
  • Review of Toronto Western infrastructure – to ensure we haven’t overlooked anything in the building systems, such as plumbing and ventilation, that could be contributing to the spread.
  • Requesting whole genome sequencing to better understand the molecular relatedness of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has caused the outbreaks and determine which cases are related.
  • Out of an abundance of caution, UHN has invited IPAC and Occupational Health colleagues from partner hospitals, for an objective review of our processes.

UHN-wide Changes

All staff continue to be asked to:

  • Practice physical distancing, especially during break times.
  • 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.

Universal Masking
We have implemented a universal masking policy across all UHN sites. This policy applies to staff, outpatients and approved visitors, and vendors. Read more about masking at UHN.


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.