PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center discussed the recent COVID-19 exposure that has sickened staff and patients during a press conference on Monday.
Officials provided more details about the outbreak along with steps being taken to protect patients and staff.
“This situation shows is another reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, it’s not done with us yet,” Dr. Melnick stated. He highlighted the fact that cases are rising around the country, including those brought on by the delta variant.
Ten patients and four healthcare workers tested positive for the virus last week. All 14 were from the second floor ward in the Mother Jospeh Building, PeaceHealth said.
Five of the 14 were vaccinated and showed no symptoms.
Kroll then went onto explain the hospital is currently looking into possible sources of the outbreak.
“There are three sources that could have happened here. The first is that a visitor could have brought this in and transmitted it to patients and healthcare workers in our facility. The second is that a patient could’ve come in from the community while incubating the virus so they did not test positive when they were admitted and subsequently became positive and transmission occurred inside the hospital in that way. The third is that a health worker could have unknowingly come to work while positive and transmitted,” explained Kroll.
All three possibilities are being investigated. The hospital’s initial steps were to control the outbreak. We are investigating all three of those. Their immediate steps were to control the outbreak and test all those who could have been exposed and are at high risk.
The next steps, Kroll said, are to look at all those visitors who have come in with collaboration with Public Health, to notify patients who were discharged from the unit. All patients believed to be at high risk, however, have already been contacted.
According to Dr. Neville, PeaceHealth does not have a mandatory vaccination policy for its healthcare workers. He said some two of the affected staff were not vaccinated while one other was still completing the vaccination series.
“We have far more than the majority [of staff] vaccinated. We encourage it strongly… but we are not yet at 100%,” Neville said. “We are roughly at 75%.”
The affected floor is not accepting new admissions and the hospital said they are continuing to enforce safety protocols. Samples have been sent to the Washington Department of Health to test for the Delta variant.