“No COVID outbreak in the operating room in Saint-Jérôme”

Anesthesiologist at the Saint-Jérôme Regional Hospital, Dr. Alain Lamontagne, was part of the Maximed R&D team within the CISSS des Laurentides. Today a Maximed user, he testifies in the video below. Dr. Lamontagne reports “no cases of COVID-19 contamination coming from the operating room”! That is even though this hospital has received a large number of patients hospitalized due to COVID-19. Thanks, according to him, to their “security algorithm,” the locally developed precautionary measures, based on the INSPQ recommendations. In the Saint-Jérôme, Sainte-Agathe, Saint-Eustache, and Mont-Laurier hospitals, this algorithm includes the Maximed as a mitigation measure.

In a telephone discussion, Dr. Lamontagne explains that the use of Maximed has “allowed to create Yellow and Red zones in the operating rooms and added a security element, to prevent the spread of the virus”.  All of this within the physical constraints of a hospital already at the limit of its capabilities, such as Saint-Jérôme. A situation that is quite similar to several Quebec, Canada, and United States regions. A recent report by Radio-Canada

For him, the strength of a tool like the Maximed is its ability to protect health care workers from aerosols of a potentially affected patient while preserving the surgical wound’s integrity. “How do we stay in positive pressure and protect against COVID? That’s the complexity of an operating room “said the doctor on the other end of the phone. Most of the solutions proposed would have created negative pressure and exposed patients to the risk of infection. All of this in an “extremely short time.”

INSPQ recommendations

At the start of the pandemic, there was a shortage in personal protective equipment (PPE) and detection capacity.  As soon as community transmission in the Laurentides got confirmed, mitigation protective measures had to be implemented. Based on the INSPQ’s recommendations, these measures were necessary for both staff protection and to limit further delays. These can potentially lead to other collateral complications due to the cancellation of interventions on otherwise COVID-free patients.

The impact of these anti-COVID restrictions was real for the staff: “overnight, our response capacity was struck down by 70% because of the mitigation measures..”  The systematic use of N95 masks and a longer wait time for the air renewal cycles at each stage of the intervention were the first rules in place, but this meant fewer procedures overall. Dr. Lamontagne added: “between each intervention that generates aerosols, the staff must wait outside. This generates a real slowdown, sometimes 30, 60 minutes for an intervention that takes 15 minutes in the operating room.” The Maximed helped greatly reduce this waiting period.

The implementation of this whole set of sanitary measures allowed them to return to a more controlled situation. Among these measures are aerosol aspiration devices like Maximed, systematic preventive screening measures, and stocks of personal protective equipment available in greater numbers. Knowledge of the disease also made it possible to adapt protocols over time, which could still evolve, depending on the community transmission, which is still on the rise in many parts of North America.

The results of this protection algorithm speak for themselves: no outbreak of COVID-19 from the operating room.