Update on the situation in the Emergency Department of the Montreal General Hospital

Following the publication of an article in a major daily newspaper on the situation at the Emergency of the Montreal General Hospital (MGH) today, we would like to provide some clarifications to all of our healthcare workers as well as our patients and their families.  Please know that we understand your concerns and that we are aware that the infrastructure of the MGH, which is a designated level 1 trauma centre that is essential to the Montreal healthcare system, is very old.  We have a modernization plan under way.

Among the clarifications, it should be noted that there have not been 15 nosocomial infections at the MGH emergency room, but rather throughout the MUHC altogether, at our 6 sites, since the beginning of the pandemic. It is important to note that no patient acquired COVID-19 in the MGH ER.

The screening of all ER staff 10 days ago found only two asymptomatic healthcare workers. The same exercise was conducted this week, and only one healthcare worker tested positive.  Previously, seven cases of COVID-19 had been detected in healthcare workers in the emergency department, many of whom had acquired it in the community. In addition, audits were conducted to validate hospital staff compliance with infection control measures, including social distancing and proper mask use.

Major work was done at the beginning of the pandemic to increase the space between stretchers in the MGH emergency room, and physical barriers were installed.  A complete section was put into operation to create a yellow/red zone in the emergency room. Our laboratory offers an extremely rapid service of screening test results that allows for efficient management of suspicious cases. Finally, designated COVID-19 units have the capacity to quickly hospitalize patients coming from the emergency department.

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