Health-care unions raise concerns as St. Boniface Hospital closes 2nd unit amid COVID-19 outbreak

Three health-care worker unions are raising concern after a COVID-19 outbreak at Winnipeg’s St. Boniface Hospital has resulted in numerous staff and patients contracting the virus and a second unit closing down.

On Friday, an internal memo sent to staff suggested two patients had tested positive, and a cluster of cases linked to the E6 unit had to be closed to visits and new admissions. Two patients had tested positive and possible contacts were tested, the letter stated.

CBC News has obtained another memo, sent to staff Tuesday night, that states a second medical unit, E5, has also been closed for new admissions due to “multiple” patients and staff contracting the virus in the hospital.

The Manitoba Nurses’ Union, the Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals and the Canadian Union of Public Employees were all notified by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority about the expanded closures.

None are aware of whether any of their members have tested positive or are isolating in relation to the outbreak.

“Government and the employers got a lot of time to figure these things out, so when we’re learning now that an infection is actually being spread within the facility, it goes to questioning of the protocols,” said Bob Moroz, president of MAHCP, which represents 6,500 respiratory therapist, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, lab technicians and more.

“We’re all concerned about not only an infection like this being present in one of our facilities, but also for the health and safety of each of our members and all of the all of the workers and patients.”

CBC News has requested more information from Shared Health and the WRHA about how many people have tested positive in connection to the St. Boniface outbreak.