By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
St. Charles continues to investigate an outbreak of COVID 19 at the Redmond hospital.
At the last report indicates 31 caregivers have tested positive for coronavirus.
Officials say 10 of the 31 caregivers who tested positive received their first dose of COVID vaccine as of January 6th when the outbreak began.
None of them were eligible for their second dose and couldn’t be considered fully vaccinated.
“We are still collaborating with Oregon Health Authority, which is on-site today, as well as Deschutes County Health Services, to conduct the investigation so we can understand what occurred, definitely to learn and to ensure it doesn’t occur again,” said Iman Simmons, St. Charles Health System chief operating officer.
Simmons said they have investigated rumors circulating on social media about health care providers not wearing masks at the Redmond hospital.
“We heard this rumor. We did some investigation looking at video footage within the Redmond hospital,” he said. “We did not discover any such activity, so we believe that it is a rumor.”
The Redmond hospital has put in place new safety measures including:
-Offering COVID 19 testing to all St. Charles Redmond hospital-based caregivers
-Asking caregivers to stay home and get tested if they any symptoms of COVID 19, no matter how mild
-Increasing air exchange in the building to six times per hour
-Upgraded air filtration beyond CDC recommendations
-Instructed caregivers in direct patient care roles to use N95 respirator masks and face shields.
-Added hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies to more locations throughout the facility
-Added maximum capacity signage to all break rooms and conference rooms to ensure physical distancing can be maintained.
“We have asked caregivers to not eat long meals in break rooms,” Simmons said. “They are welcome to have a snack and rest for a bit in break rooms which are not very large spaces. If they are going to have a longer meal without a mask on, we are asking them to relocate to a bigger space.”
Other changes in response to the COVID outbreak at St. Charles Redmond include limitations on visitors to close family members or caregivers of patients who require assistance with language barriers, disabilities, or end-of-life care.