Toronto (May 26, 2003) - The Emergency Department at Toronto General Hospital (TGH), University Health Network closed as of 8:30 pm today to all patients.

Last Thursday, over 15 staff from the TGH Emergency were sent home on quarantine because of a possible exposure to a patient who is now a SARS case. Staff were not wearing all of their protective gear as they were unaware that they were dealing with a SARS patient at the time the patient came to the Emergency. With so many staff on home quarantine from the Emergency Department, the hospital has been closed to ambulances since last Thursday because there have been insufficient staff available to safely care for the normal volume of patients.

Tonight, with 29 patients in TGH Emergency, the decision was made to close TGH's Emergency to walk-in patients as well. The hospital has requested that Emergency Medical Services station an ambulance outside of the entrance to the Emergency in case there is a walk-in patient who needs to be transported to another hospital's emergency department.

About Toronto General Hospital

Toronto General Hospital is a partner in University Health Network, along with Toronto Western and Princess Margaret Hospitals. The scope of research and complexity of cases at Toronto General Hospital has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has one of the largest hospital-based research programs in Canada, with major research projects in cardiology, transplantation, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, and genomic medicine. Toronto General Hospital is a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto.

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