PeaceHealth reports 30 patients tested positive for COVID-19 after admission

These patients were not initially admitted for COVID-19 and received a negative COVID-19 test upon admission

Courtesy of PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center Facebook page

Over the past week, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center has identified 30 patients in the hospital that have been confirmed with COVID-19, according to a Jan. 1 news release from PeaceHealth. These patients were not initially admitted for COVID-19 and received a negative COVID-19 test upon admission.

“Our Infection Prevention specialists immediately began conducting a thorough review to understand the root causes of this situation, and to ensure further protection for our patients and caregivers,” said Lawrence Neville, MD, chief medical officer. “This is a highly complex exposure, and we are continuing to look into the situation and have put control measures in place to prevent further exposures.”

To date, six employees with links to caring for these COVID-19 patients have tested positive themselves, with 86 employees placed on self-quarantine to ensure the safety of all.

“Clark County Public Health is working closely with PeaceHealth to ensure anyone who may have been exposed is notified and all cases are isolated,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. “These steps help to protect the health of patients and staff at PeaceHealth.”

“I have full confidence in our highly qualified health care professionals to manage through this recent incident,” Neville said. “We have been treating COVID-19 patients for 11 months and have discharged nearly 600.”

Safety remains a top priority for PeaceHealth, the news release states. This includes adherence to CDC and state guidelines, employees wearing personal protective equipment and masks, taking the daily temperature of all employees, testing all admitted patients, restricting visitors, and caring for COVID-19 patients on dedicated, isolated units.

“Unfortunately, this is a reminder that COVID remains in our community and can spread very rapidly,” Neville said. “We must all remain vigilant about physical distancing, wearing masks and limiting our gatherings.”

This story will be updated with more information regarding how this outbreak has affected hospital staff, what staff testing procedures are being done and more.

Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.