Hospital staff test positive amid "alarming growth" of virus

Two staffers at CMC, seven at Moses Lake hospital test positive


Last updated 8/11/2020 at 10:03am

Scott Hunter

Outside Coulee Medical Center Tuesday, where the hospital continues to screen all those who enter the building for symptoms, plus require the wearing of masks.

Two Coulee Medical Center employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and are now isolated and recovering at home, the hospital announced Monday as the coronavirus continues to spread across the state, including in Grant and Okanogan counties.

CMC began investigating the outbreak on Sunday, the hospital said, and Grant County Health District began investigating Monday.

All staff exposed are being tested and quarantined at home, and patients who may have been exposed are being contacted, said Ramona Hicks, chief executive officer at CMC.

"CMC takes this exposure very seriously and the hospital's Incident Command Team, Administration, and Infection Prevention are working jointly with the GCHD to address this incident," Hicks said in a statement released Monday evening.

Hicks quoted the GCHD Health Officer Dr. Alexander Brzezny in a recent health care provider updated: "As we open up our communities, we will see more people with COVID-19. The rapid growth of new cases during the last two weeks is particularly alarming. All of us, including healthcare workers and families serving those most at risk, need to be mindful of our personal activities which increase the risk of transmission."

The pair of cases at CMC was announced the same day as news of an outbreak at Samaritan Health Care in Moses Lake, where seven employees tested positive for the virus.

Samaritan began investigating their outbreak July 26 and says it appears to have originated in the community, as did the two cases at Grand Coulee's hospital.

"Community spread" is an increasing problem as summertime activities draw out family and friends to parties, campouts and barbecues, state and county health officials are warning.

Okanogan Public Health officials, already working seven days a week, said Monday they are now trying to trace attendees of an overnight campout on private property north of Methow, where more than 100 people gathered July 24-25. after some campers came down with the coronavirus that is causing COVID-19.

CMC continues to require all staff, patients, and visitors to wear masks while on campus, CEO Hicks said. "We take every precaution when working directly with patients, and their safety is our upmost concern. We have ample protective equipment for staff."


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