(Update: adding more details from the Chief Operating Officer)
State, county health investigator; Hospital visits became more limited
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – St. Charles Health System said late Wednesday that it has reported an outbreak of COVID-19 cases affecting more than 30 caregivers in the St. Charles Redmond Hospital campus in Descutes County and the state of Oregon.
The hospital system said that as of Wednesday, 31 caregivers had tested positive for COVID-19, and their cases are being investigated in collaboration with Deschutes County Health Services and the Oregon Health Authority.
An outbreak is defined as a group of cases that are related.
“We are taking all possible measures to prevent the spread of the virus, to protect our patients and our caregivers,” said Aaron Adams, Chief Executive Officer of Redmond Hospital.
The Chief Operating Officer of St. Charles, Iman Simmons, told NewsChannel 21 Wednesday evening that 10 out of 31 carers had received the first of two doses of the Pfizer-BioNotech vaccine. He said that some may get a second dose, but this has not yet been confirmed.
Simmons said St. Charles is working with the county and the OHA to determine the timing and origin of the outbreak.
He said that 31 caregivers will be paid for two weeks, but they must be symptom-free and test negative for the virus before returning to work.
In addition to the existing COVID-19 precautions, St. Charles stated that Redmond Hospital has taken new safety measures, 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 recommendation (90% filtration at + .3 micron)
- Use N95 respirators and eye protection in your shifts while instructing caregivers in direct patient care roles that they are undergoing outbreaks
- Adding hand sanitizers and cleaning supplies to more locations throughout the facility
- Instead of break room with carers to eat in the cafeteria or outside
- Adding maximum capacity signage to all break rooms and conference rooms to ensure physical deflection
The hospital is currently limiting visitors to the following groups only:
- The caregiver or attendant of a patient who needs assistance due to language barrier or patient disability, whether the disability is related to physical, developmental, intellectual, cognitive, behavioral or altered mental status or communication, the presence of which Assist the person with disability to receive treatment, ensure the safety of patients or facility staff, or who should assist in activities of daily living
- Close family members of the patient taking end-of-life care as determined by the medical provider in charge of patient care
- The parent or legal guardian of the hospitalized child. If one parent or legal guardian meets the screening criteria, but the other does not, then only parents or legal guardians who meet the screening criteria can be assured access
Ramdas said, “We hope that our community will help us by following all COVID-19 restrictions, inside and outside our facilities.” “The number of positive COVID-19 cases continues across the region, and we need your help to ensure a healthy workforce to care for you and your loved ones.”