The Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre was the site of a COVID-19 outbreak on Friday. (File photo)

Fraser Health: PPE shortage not a factor in Abbotsford COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health, Dr. Bonnie Henry both claim PPE shortage not an issue in Abbotsford

According to Fraser Health, the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) was not a factor in the recent outbreak at the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre.

Fraser Health’s director of public affairs Jacqueline Blackwell told The News that information circulating that a lack of PPE led to more contracting the COVID-19 virus is not true.

“There is no evidence of any PPE breach during patient care that has led to this outbreak,” she said. “All staff were wearing appropriate PPE and taking all appropriate precautions while in care areas. We can also confirm that we are not experiencing a shortage of PPE at Abbotsford Regional Hospital.”

RELATED: COVID-19 outbreak declared at Abbotsford Regional Hospital

Blackwell said the outbreak was quickly managed and is confined to one unit, with six staff and two patients testing positive.

“There is a COVID-19 outbreak at Abbotsford Regional Hospital that involves both staff and patients,” she added. “Enhanced precautions and infection prevention and control measures were implemented immediately and prior to the outbreak being declared.”

Christine Sorensen, the head of the B.C. Nurses’ Union, said earlier this month that over 1,700 complaints have been received by the union from its members about the PPE supply issue.

RELATED: Give adequate, quality supply of personal protective gear to nurses: B.C. union

In her press conference today (Saturday), Dr. Bonnie Henry echoed much of what Fraser Health said.

“I have had a detailed report about what is happening at that outbreak and I have been reassured by my colleagues who work in that facility and all of the ICU’s,” she said. “There has been no shortage of PPE, there’s no concerns with the healthcare workers in those facilities. They have been able to access what they need to in order to be able to safely care of people with COVID-19. That’s not an issue that has been associated with this outbreak.”

Henry added that there was one death and 21 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours. The province is dealing with 355 active confirmed cases linked to the novel coronavirus.

Of those battling the virus, 49 are in hospital with 11 of those in intensive care units.

A total of 141 people have died from the contagious respiratory illness. Meanwhile, 1,229 have fully recovered.

RELATED: ‘Risk is greatest in groups, indoors’: B.C. sees 21 new COVID-19 cases, one death

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