Mold prompted closure of labor and delivery unit at California hospital

Petaluma (Calif.) Valley Hospital shut down its labor and delivery unit last month after discovering mold in the facility, Tyler Hedden, interim chief executive of Petaluma Valley Hospital and Santa Rosa (Calif.) Memorial Hospital, confirmed to Becker's Hospital Review.

The hospital discovered the mold July 18 in a nutrition room in the labor and delivery unit and later, in other areas of the hospital, including an employee break room. Earlier in the summer, the hospital discovered mold in an isolated, nonpatient area in the medical surgery unit as well.

"In each instance, out of an abundance of caution we promptly closed and contained the affected areas, which allowed us to fully investigate while upholding the best interests and safety of our patients and caregivers," said Mr. Hedden in a statement.

The hospital reported the issue to the California Department of Public Health and the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

After an investigation, the hospital found that the mold in the nutrition room in the labor and delivery unit was caused by an ice machine not draining correctly. The causes of mold in the other areas are still being investigated.

The labor and delivery unit reopened Aug. 2. However, the nutrition room and other nonpatient areas remain contained as officials await approval from regulatory bodies and implement measures to mitigate the mold.

No illnesses associated with the mold have been identified in the hospital.

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