The West Nipissing General Hospital is seeing its share of outbreaks this season. However, the hospital’s new CEO, Sue LeBeau, reassures patients and visitors that the hospital is always prepared, and that things are under control.
The long-term care unit at the hospital was hit with a respiratory virus on Dec. 23, which was declared over on January 12. Then a COVID outbreak was declared in the nursing care unit Jan. 6, which lasted until Jan. 17.
“It’s pretty normal at this time of year, we see outbreaks,” says LeBeau, stressing that there’s no deadly illness going around, just what hospitals expect during the wintry cold and flu season.
That’s not to say it’s easy, LeBeau admits. “We’re holding up. Staffing remains a challenge, because of course if a patient gets sick sometimes staff get sick as well, and we’re dealing with a very pervasive nursing shortage throughout Ontario, one that we’ve seen coming for years.”
Indeed, staffing shortages are one of the main problems every health care institution is dealing with right now in the wake of a pandemic that has exacerbated the problem. “In terms of preparedness, we’re still screening at the doors, we’re still following long-term-care requirements for those areas of our hospital, so visitors are getting tested on the way in. We still have visitor restrictions that are pretty tight,” she adds.