Kaiser hospital in Oregon quarantines dozens of employees due to coronavirus

Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro, Ore., has quarantined dozens of hospital staff due to possible contact with the new coronavirus disease from China, COVID-19, The Oregonian reports. 

A confirmed COVID-19 patient is being treated at the medical center. The patient is suspected to have had contact with unprotected employees and was put in isolation, Michael Foley, a spokesman for Kaiser, told the newspaper. 

Local healthcare union representatives estimated up to 70 Kaiser Westside workers were quarantined. 

Mr. Foley confirmed with Becker's Hospital Review that dozens had been quarantined, but he did not provide a specific number or confirm the number union sources gave The Oregonian. He said the number continues to decline, since people who asked to stay home initially (the night of Feb. 28) may now come to work based on a more detailed assessment of the employees who were exposed. It was unclear how many employees remained quarantined as of March 3.

"Per current CDC guidelines, people who have had contact with COVID-19 patients are asked to maintain self-isolation at home for 14 days," said Mary E. Giswold, MD, associate director of Kaiser's hospital and post-acute care, told The Oregonian. "Some of our staff, including nurses and physicians, met the criteria for contact and are on furlough. The number of furloughed staff changed daily, as we began with an abundance of caution and followed with a more detailed investigation into whether contact occurred."

The quarantine of staff raised concerns among union officials of whether there is adequate staffing. Kaiser's Dr. Giswold said there are contingency plans, and Kaiser has changed work schedules, is able to hire contract staff if necessary and continues to work with the Oregon Hospital Association and others to reduce the impact on employees if Westside Medical treats more COVID-19 patients.

Read the full report here


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