Another concerning step in the COVID-19 battle for Ontario. SickKids hospital in downtown Toronto released an update on Tuesday, April 28, stating that it is currently dealing with an outbreak on an inpatient unit. This news comes after the city announced it has surpassed 5,000 cases for the first time.

According to a statement released by The Hospital for Sick Children, a patient on a specialized haematology/oncology unit, along with their parents and a staff member, have all tested positive for the illness.

“While this is certainly not the kind of news we want to be sharing, the fact is we have been fortunate at SickKids thus far — these are our first positive inpatient cases since the pandemic started over six weeks ago,” said Dr. Ronald Cohn, President and CEO of SickKids in the release.

“I have full and absolute confidence in our teams here at SickKids and in our ability to continue to provide the best possible care, while protecting the safety of our patients, families and staff."

Naturally, this outbreak has raised questioned about the status of other patients on the unit in question.

The hospital reports testing has come back as negative thus far, but staff continue to be tested.

"SickKids and Toronto Public Health are actively investigating how the virus was transmitted. All necessary infection prevention and control measures continue to be taken," adds the statement. 

The initial patient had actually tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, April 25, so hospital staff made sure to test those in close contact as well.

Those who may have been exposed have all been notified as a precaution.

“As a result of this, Toronto Public Health later today will include Unit 8B on its public outbreak list,” said Cohn in a statement to CP24.

This is not the only case of COVID-19 in the hospital.

On April 27, a teenage patient was admitted and tested positive for the virus. However, that case is considered unrelated to the outbreak.

SickKids has placed the patient in an isolation room and they are currently stable.

Hospitals, along with long-term and elderly care centres, have been local hotspots for cases in the GTA.

Recent outbreaks at Trillium Health Partners saw 76 staff from Mississauga Hospital or Credit Valley Hospital test positive earlier this month.

And it was at Brampton Civic Hospital that the province's first confirmed death of a healthcare worker occurred a few weeks ago.

News of the outbreak comes the same day that Toronto Health officials announced the city has now exceeded 5,000 total COVID-19 cases and 300 deaths.

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