There were situations that made it difficult to wear a mask; The third test was positive; 33 carers, one patient affected
REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) – St. Charles Health System’s investigation of a COVID-19 outbreak at its Redmond hospital revealed the source was a COVID-positive patient, the organization announced late Friday.
Officials said the patient — who had underlying health conditions, often finding it difficult to wear a mask — was admitted to St. Charles Redmond on May 31 and initially tested COVID-19 twice, officials said. Because both tests yielded negative results, St. Charles caregivers continued to wear drip precaution personal protective equipment (PPE).
On 6 January, the patient was tested for a third time for COVID-19, and the test was positive.
After conducting an investigation with the help of Descutes County Health Services and the Oregon Health Authority, the St. Charles Infection Prevention Team determined that the PPV cautions for droplet of Redmond caregivers is overwhelmed by exposure to a highly symptomatic COVID-positive patient .
“The important learning from this outbreak is that negative COVID-19 test results are not foolproof,” Dr. Said Jeff Absalon, chief physician executive of St. Charles. “Despite the results of the negative test, if a patient is highly symptomatic, we will need to treat them as if they are COVID-19 positive and aerosolizing, in which case high levels of PPE are required.”
Evidence suggests that COVID-19 tests are most accurate five to seven days after exposure. The virus takes up to 14 days to build in a person’s system.
To date, one patient and 33 St. Charles caregivers at Redmond Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19. Because the health system began its vaccination campaign from December 21, none of the 33 caregivers at Redmond Hospital were fully vaccinated.
On Friday, the St. Charles Infection Prevention Team expects the time at Redmond Hospital to cater to patients who may be at risk of exposure. All current patients at Redmond Hospital have been informed that none of them were exposed.
“We have a robust contact tracing system for caregivers working to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Absalon said. “In the meantime, it is important that we feel stressed that our Redmond Hospital is a safe place to receive care.”
The health system has also made some changes at Redmond Hospital, including:
COVID-19 trial offering for all St. Charles Redmond Hospital-based caregivers
Asking caregivers to stay home and test if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild
Increasing air exchange six times per hour
Increasing air filtration higher than the CDC recommended (90% filtration at + .3 micron)
Use N95 respirators and eye protection in your shift, instructing caregivers in direct patient care roles that they are on the outbreak.
Adding hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies to more locations throughout the facility
Asking caregivers to eat instead of breaking to eat in the cafeteria or outside courtyard
Adding maximum capacity signage to all break rooms and conference rooms to ensure physical deflection
Temporarily restricting visitors to a higher degree than before
“This type of situation is not the fault of any one person,” Absalon said. “Everyone is working hard to maintain a safe environment, and as an organization we continue to learn and adjust to improve safety for all.”
Frequently asked questions about the outbreak are also available on the St. Charles website.