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News and Information
September 11, 2020
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and St. Anthony Hospital COVID-19 Update
Gig Harbor, Washington - CHI Franciscan is working with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) to investigate three patient cases of COVID-19 and the potential spread to three employees at St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor between August 20 and September 3. Public health investigations are still underway to identify the root of possible transmission and we continue to work together on contact tracing efforts.
As standard protocol, all patients are tested prior to being admitted to the hospital. All three patients tested negative initially, then later tested positive. St. Anthony Hospital notified, tested, and isolated staff and patients who may have been affected as soon as the first cases were confirmed; 50 hospital employees who may have been in contact with confirmed cases have already been tested and 17 are quarantining in accordance with public health guidelines while they await results. Out of an abundance of caution, all St. Anthony Hospital employees are being tested now through Monday, September 14.
St. Anthony Hospital is now restricting visitors with a few exceptions and is also temporarily limiting procedures that require an inpatient admission. St. Anthony employees in the affected units were notified about the infections, and all employees of St. Anthony Hospital have been notified and receive regular updates from the hospital.
“CHI Franciscan is working closely with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and the Washington State Department of Health as we continue to battle the very real impacts of COVID 19 in our communities,” said Rear Admiral Michael H. Anderson, MD (ret.), Chief Medical Officer, CHI Franciscan. “Our hospitals and health care workers are on the front lines, working around the clock to serve the community. We are committed to making our hospitals as safe as possible and we urge the public to do their part by wearing masks and practicing good hygiene and social distancing.”
St. Anthony Hospital is following all public health recommendations, including several enhanced safety and PPE measures in place across the CHI Franciscan system to limit potential spread.
“The Health Department is supporting St. Anthony Hospital’s disease investigation to provide COVID-19 testing for anyone who needs it—patients, visitors, and staff,” said Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH, Director of Health at Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. “This is how public health works with partners like the hospital during outbreaks to control disease spread and protect people,” he said.
Patients should not delay seeking care if they are facing emergencies, such as symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, or injuries like broken bones. We urge the community to continue follow public health guidance. The best way to reduce infections and stay healthy is to wear a mask when you are in public and in any health care setting and remain six feet away from others.
COVID-19 safety guidance
Ongoing infection prevention procedures
- Rigorous daily cleaning protocols, including disinfection of all horizontal and frequently touched surfaces by trained staff following infection control procedures
- Removing any employees with symptoms or suspected exposure from work and testing them
- Universal masking in effect for everyone in the hospital, including all patients, staff, and visitors
- Testing all patients for COVID-19 before admittance and before scheduled procedures
- All public, inpatient, outpatient and surgical service areas have implemented physical distancing standards
- Meticulous hand hygiene for all staff
- Staff are following all public health PPE guidance when caring for patients, including universal eye protection such as goggles or face shields
- Screening all staff, visitors, and patients before they enter our facilities
- Suspected and confirmed COVID patients are placed in an appropriate isolation room
About CHI Franciscan
CHI Franciscan is a Catholic nonprofit health system based in Tacoma, Washington. One of the largest health systems in Washington state, CHI Franciscan is comprised of more than 12,500 physicians, advanced practice clinicians, nurses, and staff that provide expert, compassionate medical care at 10 acute care hospitals and more than 220 primary and specialty care clinics throughout the greater Puget Sound. As part of CommonSpirit Health, and as a member of every community we serve, we bring together medicine, kindness, respect, and compassion to help people truly begin to heal. We honor our values and legacy by investing in our communities. In 2019 we provided $197 million in community benefits, including free, subsidized, and reduced cost health care and programs. We are also the only Washington State hospital system that accepts an unlimited number of Medicaid patients. Follow CHI Franciscan on Facebook facebook.com/chifranciscan, Twitter @CHIFranciscan and Instagram @chi.franciscan.