EDMONTON -- The Misericordia Community Hospital is beginning its phased reopening after overcoming its COVID-19 outbreak.

“I think for the most part we’re excited. We want to get started. We have confidence in our leadership team; I think they’ve done a great job throughout this,” said Dr. Erika MacIntyre, Vice President of the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff. “There’s definitely been some ups and downs but overall everybody’s really come together as a team and done their best just to put this hopefully behind us.”

The emergency department and labour and delivery services resumed Friday afternoon.

The hospital will also begin a phased reopening of scheduled ambulatory appointments and surgical procedures.

The hospital was temporarily closed to patients on July 8.

A total of 58 cases have been connected with the outbreak, 11 people died.

 “Most of us weren’t really foreseeing this happening, an outbreak within our facility,” MacIntyre said.

“I miss having coffee with people, I miss being a bit closer on rounds. I’ll have to admit I don’t really like wearing goggles at work but I think that’s gonna be the reality for awhile.”

“We’re all looking forward to seeing patients again. I’m looking forward to seeing people again you know it’s been pretty eerie around there, it’s been very quiet”

MacIntyre said reopening the hospital will ease the workload other area hospitals have been under since the Misericordia stopped accepting new patients.

“I believe emerg in particular as being quite busy at the other sites, so we are looking forward to supporting our colleagues because I think they have been sort of picking up the bulk of the workload this last month or two. We certainly thank them for it but we’re looking forward to offloading that burden a little bit.”

But the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees is concerned about testing for future cases at the hospital.

“Going back into the building they’re not going to be able to be tested for COVID on site, they’re going to have to phone and make their own appointments, as well go off site so that should be being done in-site to alleviate anymore outbreak if it happens,” said Susan Slade, AUPE vice president.

She’s also concerned that the order to keep staff working at only one site is being lifted.

“We know a lot of health workers work part time at several different places, so they will be able to go to the other job that they have possibly or casual positions that they have somewhere else and then again, also allowing visitors just to be coming back in which again could lead to a spread of COVID once again in that building.”

There have been no new cases at the hospital since July 17, and as of Friday, the outbreak is considered over.