WINDSOR, ONT. -- The Windsor Regional Hospital has recommended 28 individuals be tested for COVID-19 after several nursing students on placement at the hospital tested positive for the virus.

A news release from the hospital says 13 patients and 15 staff members were identified as having direct contact with the students who tested positive.

“We will continue to be vigilant as the community spread rises and the risks of bringing COVID19 into the hospital increases,” the release states. “Windsor Regional Hospital will continue to collaborate with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, the University of Windsor and St. Clair College and will keep the community informed during this situation.”

WRH says while testing is not mandatory for staff because they do not meet the criteria for high-risk exposure, meaning 15 minutes or more within two metres of each other without PPE, all staff who were in contact with the individuals have consented to testing.

The hospital is also providing tests for any other staff, inpatients or visitors who believe they may have come into contact with the students on the units where their placements occurred.

WRH confirmed Sunday that four University of Windsor nursing students who were doing their placements at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Three were on the 7West and 6East units at the Ouellette campus on Nov. 3, Nov. 6, and a fourth on the 8North unit at Met Campus on Nov. 3. 

The hospital was also notified that a St. Clair College nursing student also tested positive for the virus who was at the 6North unit at Met Campus for student placement on Nov.  2.

“In all cases, the initial positive contact with COVID-19 came from the community, not from inside the hospital,” the release says.

The hospital says in addition to identifying and contacting staff and patients who were direct contacts with these students, WRH has temporarily stopped any movement from patients from these floors except if they are to be discharged home.

All nursing student placements at WRH have stopped until further notice and all clinical student placements (with the exception of Schulich clinical placements) on 7W and 6E at Ouellette and 6N and 8N at Met have been halted until this issue is cleared.

Visitation to those floors has been suspended until the issue is cleared, with the exception of end of life and palliative patients.