New Hampshire hospital partly evacuated after 19 staff members report sickness

Exeter (N.H.) Hospital said Friday afternoon it evacuated its inpatient operating room after a "small number of staff" reported symptoms of dizziness and nausea. 

The announcement came via EH's website.

"Staff members were triaged to Exeter Hospital's emergency room for evaluation. The inpatient OR was shut down out of an abundance of caution as the hospital's engineering team and local fire personnel investigated," the announcement reads. 

As of Friday afternoon, the hospital had not identified the exact cause of the symptoms. However, the hospital stressed "no patients or family members in the inpatient operating room area were impacted."

Overall, 19 staff members reported symptoms, and "all symptoms have now resolved," EH said in an update Friday night.

The hospital said patients were diverted to other area locations after it shut down the ER, located above the inpatient operating room, "out of an abundance of cution."

"We are working with local and state emergency personnel to determine the cause.  At this point, the only areas of the hospital impacted are the inpatient OR and the emergency room," EH said Friday afternoon. "All other areas remain unaffected and are operating as usual.  The interruption of services in the OR and the emergency department did not result in any patient safety concerns."  

Exeter Town Manager Russell Dean previously told CBS Boston the "source of the issue is being investigated as a possible leak of some kind." On Friday night, EH said the state hazmat, CST National Guard investigated the ER and inpatient OR areas, and there were "no findings." The hospital added both areas will reopen "at a time yet to be determined" after a thorough cleaning.

Note: This story was updated Friday night.  




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