KITCHENER -- Grand River Hospital has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at one of its medicine units.

In a release on Thursday evening, hospital officials said three patients who received care in the unit, along with two staff members who cared for those patients, have tested positive for the disease.

The outbreak is in the 5S unit, also known as the clinical teaching unit.

“We have processes in place to identify individuals with symptoms and initiate protocols to reduce the risk of transmission to others,” said Bonnie Camm, Executive Vice President of Clinical Services at Grand River Hospital. “The safety and wellbeing of our patients and hospital team members is our top priority. We will continue to monitor hospital team members and patients from 5S to ensure that all receive the support they need and we have made further enhancements to limit any potential spread.”

Patients in the unit, or who were in the unit and are still in hospital, have all been tested for COVID-19. Officials said all results have been negative so far and the rest of the tests are expected in the next 24 hours.

They are also contacting patients who have been released from hospital and any high-risk staff members.

The hospital has implemented enhanced surveillance of potential cases, cleaning of high-touch surfaces, cohorting staff where possible and educating patients and families about COVID-19 protocols.

Officials have closed admissions to the unit and has suspended all in-person visits while working to enhance virtual and phone connections for patients.

They also said they may need to reduce the number of surgeries back down to normal levels, since they've been operating an additional operating room since September.