Washington hospital battles 2nd COVID-19 outbreak

St. Michael Medical Center in Bremerton, Wash., is investigating its second COVID-19 outbreak since August.

As of Nov. 9, four patients and two employees tested positive in the 3 West unit, Tacoma Wash.-based CHI Franciscan, which owns St. Michael, said in an online update Nov. 10.

The outbreak was determined by the Kitsap Public Health District Nov. 9 after a patient, who had previously tested negative, tested positive Nov. 3, according to the update. An additional patient tested positive Nov. 4, which prompted testing of all staff and patients in the affected unit.

The health system said Nov. 10 that testing to date found two additional asymptomatic patients and two positive employees on the unit who had worked with at least one of the infected patients. Testing also found three employees positive for community-acquired COVID-19, and an additional 280 employee tests were negative, said CHI Franciscan.

The health system said patients with positive results are in the COVID-19 unit and St. Michael employees were notified of the outbreak. Officials also said the medical center is following all public health recommendations, including several enhanced safety and personal protective equipment measures. The 3 West unit is closed to admissions, and contact tracing continues. 

"COVID-19 cases are significantly on the rise this fall, including here in Kitsap County, where activity has been climbing steadily since mid-October. We are committed to following all CDC and public health guidelines at St. Michael Medical Center, and immediately addressing any cases as they arise," Cary Evans, vice president for communications and government affairs at CHI Franciscan, said in the online statement. "However, we recognize that hospitals and health care workers are at risk in the community especially as cases increase. We ask the community to please stay safe and continue to follow all public health guidance."

St. Michael also battled a COVID-19 outbreak in August, which grew to at least 45 patient and staff cases. On Dec. 12, the medical center plans to move to a new facility in Silverdale, Wash., which CHI Franciscan said will include increased safety features such as negative airflow capabilities for all rooms, more space in employee areas and all-private patient rooms.


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