VANCOUVER -- A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a Vancouver hospital after multiple patients tested positive for the disease.

Vancouver Coastal Health announced Friday that an outbreak was declared at Vancouver General Hospital in the respiratory unit. The health authority did not clarify how many patients tested positive. 

The health authority says the unit is closed to new admissions, transfers and visitations. Exceptions for compassionate, end-of-life visits have been made, however.

"Vancouver General Hospital remains open and is prepared to safely receive and care for all individuals who require urgent and emergent care," the health authority's news release about the outbreak says.

"At this time, there is limited impact to other areas of Vancouver General Hospital. Please do not delay in seeking care as this could exacerbate your condition."

VCH also says the hospital is still admitting patients in other units and that the outbreak "will not impact the care of patients with respiratory diseases."

The health authority says prevention and control measures are in place including close monitoring and testing of patients, staff and physicians. Enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols are being taken and contract tracing is underway.