Understanding VRE


March 3, 2018

You may have heard that Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (our Hospital) is currently experiencing an outbreak of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (or VRE for short). The good news is that VRE is not a threat to most people. VRE outbreaks are common occurrences and are not unique to our Hospital. We are familiar with the bacteria and know how to address the problem. There is a possibility that some patients, especially those with already weakened immune systems, will experience infection. That’s why our main focus during periods of outbreak is to protect our patients and their families by containing the spread of bacteria.

High influenza rates have created an especially high demand on hospital beds and turnover rates. VRE is a symptom of that.

Our number one priority is the safety of our patients and their families, staff and visitors. We’ve put some precautionary restrictions in place in order to reduce the spread of infection.

Care Partners are always welcome at our Hospital. Patients may continue to have visitors, with the following limitations:

  • One visitor per patient in the Emergency Department;

  • Two visitors per patient in inpatient units;

  • Child visitors in exceptional circumstances only

These limitations are anticipated to be in place for approximately three weeks.

To prevent getting and spreading infections, we want to remind people to wash their hands often, for at least 15 seconds with soap and warm water, or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. We also recommend that people stay home and avoid visits to the Hospital, or any other health care facility, if experiencing any signs of gastrointestinal illness (e.g. diarrhea).

For more information and updates, please visit www.tbrhsc.net

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