EDMONTON -- The Misericordia Community Hospital is aiming to return to pre-outbreak operations within the next month after a COVID-19 outbreak that infected dozens of patients and staff.

Covenant Health declared the full facility outbreak over last Friday, 28 days after the first positive test. In total, 58 people fell ill with the coronavirus and 11 of them died. One of the patients remains in hospital while 46 have recovered.

"This has been an incredible stress on the whole system. I think it's been stressful for patients, those people who had to go elsewhere…our staff who are dealing with patients," said Covenant Health Services Chief Medical Officer Owen Heisler. "It's been an incredibly challenging time for us all."

The hospital reopened the emergency department and resumed labour and delivery services. Scheduled ambulatory appointments and surgical procedures will follow.

Edmonton Zone Medical Director Dr. David Zygun estimates the Misericordia will return to near-normal operations in the next two to four weeks.

"What has been planned by our whole group is a gradual increase in activity at the site with careful monitoring to get back to our pre-outbreak activity," he said. "Over the next couple of weeks we will ramp up the ambulatory activity, the surgical activity and all the other services that are needed."

"We need to do this safely, we need to monitor how the staff and facility is coping, as well as the rest of the zone."

Patients who had previously scheduled appointments or procedures will be contacted to reschedule them.


Health officials are investigating a possible COVID-19 outbreak at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital in southeast Edmonton.

Zygun said a person who has tested positive for the virus was at the hospital but it's unclear where they acquired it.

Heisler added there are COVID-19 patients at the hospital, but they're being moved around to one area.

"Whether that's an outbreak or not is how we're moving forward…we're extremely cautious," he said. "There's gonna be some people who get COVID in the community and we need to bring them in for care."

Zygun is grateful the Misericordia outbreak is over but warned that with COVID-19 in Edmonton, where there are currently more than 400 active cases, the threat for another one remains.

"We need to maintain our vigilance throughout our institutions," Zygun said. "We'll be at risk throughout COVID, there's absolutely no doubt that. As long as COVID is around, we'll be at risk of outbreaks and we've gotta continue to learn from each one."