'It's not protocol': Patients not tested for COVID-19 before being transferred between health facilities in Alberta
EDMONTON -- Albertans who have family members at the Edmonton General Continuing Care Facility are asking questions after a patient at the facility tested positive for COVID-19.
The patient was transferred from the Sturgeon Community Hospital in St. Albert on April 21 to the restorative/sub-acute unit, which is separate from the long term care units on the site.
“The patient was swabbed on April 23 after developing symptoms, and a positive test result was confirmed on April 24,” said Alberta Health Services spokesperson Kerry Williamson.
“All other patients on the unit have been tested for COVID-19, and none have tested positive.”
Staff have not been tested though.
AHS says it’s not protocol to test patients before transferring them to other facilities, but guidelines do require patients to be in isolation for two weeks after being transferred, whether they’re positive or not.
“There is very little risk of transmission to residents or staff. The patient has been in isolation since being admitted to the facility, per CMOH guidelines for all patient transfers,” Williamson said.
“All staff are using the appropriate personal protective equipment, and those working on this unit are not working on other units.”
Daryl Tancowny’s father Steve is at the General. His father is on dialysis and has other health issues, including lung problems. He has witnessed other long term care facilities across Canada struggle to control the spread of COVID-19 once it enters a facility.
“If contracting that disease he’s in a high percentile for a very negative outcome,” he said.
“I hear on the news if you have the sniffles you can call and arrange for a COVID test, so why wouldn’t that be a procedure or a standard operating procedure before you send another patient to another facility to ensure that they’re COVID negative?”
There are 22 patients on the unit where the patient was transferred, and 495 patients in total at the General.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Sarah Plowman