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Rear View Mirror: "Outbreak" declared at Richmond Hospital

It was in the first week of May 2020 that health officials declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Richmond Hospital
A year ago this week, the Richmond News reported on an "outbreak" of COVID-19 ar Richmond Hospital

It’s hard to believe that a year ago this week the Richmond News reported on Richmond Hospital’s first “outbreak” of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And you may notice a certain word there being placed in quotation marks as, at the time, there was a great deal of confusion and consternation over what actually constituted an outbreak.

Initial reports stated that there was only one case of COVID at the hospital, which was then “cleared up” as much as mud with the information that an “outbreak is declared when there is evidence of transmission occurring among the patients and/or staff, and it is made at the discretion of the medical health officer.”

Got it? No? Read on.

According to Vancouver Coastal Health, there was no evidence of risk to patients elsewhere in the hospital, including anyone going to the emergency department, which remained open.

Dr. Meena Dawar, Richmond’s medical health officer, had suggested some postponed medical procedures might be brought back, but with the “outbreak,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said they should “proceed with caution.”

Looking back, it appears even the experts weren’t quite sure to put the quotation marks.

Let’s hope Rear View Mirror in May 2022 doesn’t have to examine the definition of an outbreak, punctuated or not.