West‌ ‌Virginia‌ ‌hospital‌ ‌CEO‌ ‌apologizes‌ ‌to‌ ‌staff‌ ‌after‌ ‌community‌ ‌spread‌ ‌comments‌

The CEO of Charleston (W. Va.) Area Medical Center apologized to staff Sept. 19 after comments he made during a recent interview about the spread of COVID-19, WCHS reported.

In a video to employees posted by the TV station, David Ramsey said he did not intend to say anything negative about employees in the interview. 

"Many times, I've told our children the intent of their behavior and the effect of their behavior are two different things. The effect of my comments did offend some of you," he said, according to WCHS. "My intent was to stress to the community the impact of the acceleration of the infection rate in Kanawha, Putnam and Fayette counties and the critical impact these red zones have on all of our daily lives." 

He also told employees: "I appreciate your hard work, the many sacrifices you make each day, juggling school schedules and the many other challenges of functioning in a pandemic. I'm so sorry you do not feel like I support you."

Mr. Ramsey's apology came a day after an interview with WCHS in which he estimated that 100 employees were sidelined from Charleston Area Medical Center as of Sept. 18 because they either tested positive for COVID-19, were asked to quarantine by the health department due to COVID-19 exposure, or are caring for family members. During the interview, he suggested that many hospital employees contracted COVID-19 through community spread rather than at work and that not all employees were  being consistent with mask use outside of the hospital. 

"Most of what's happening is this is all community acquisition. The staff, when we do our tracing, we find that someone in the staff has brought this into the hospital from home. They're not getting it from patients. They're not getting it from visitors because we're not allowing visitors. A staff member is bringing it from home and then, unfortunately, not all of our staff have been consistent in masking, especially when they are around friends," he told the TV station Sept. 18. "The hospital is a reflection of the community."

During the interview, WCHS also asked Mr. Ramsey to respond to employee concerns about having adequate PPE.

He told the TV station: "Every staff member has access to masking, to masks. If they want an N95, they can have an N95, but we are having difficulty with some employees wearing a typical surgical mask which is much more comfortable than an N95."

In his video Sept. 19, he told employees their "voice was heard" regarding PPE, and that they soon will hear more about the use of masks at Charleston Area Medical Center. 


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