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News and Information
October 22, 2020
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and St. Joseph Medical Center COVID-19 Update
Tacoma, Washington – CHI Franciscan is working with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) to investigate two patient cases and one employee case of COVID-19 at St. Joseph Medical Center. Public health investigations are 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. Both patients tested negative initially, then later tested positive. St. Joseph Medical Center notified and tested staff and patients on the impacted floor (7th floor) as soon as the first cases were confirmed. Rapid tests are being deployed at the hospital to expedite results when possible.
We are in the process of notifying all staff, as well as family members of impacted patients and patients who were recently discharged. Out of an abundance of caution, St. Joseph Medical Center is restricting new admissions and visitors to the seventh floor. Some currently scheduled in-patient procedures may be postponed if it is medically safe to do so.
“As COVID-19 cases are unfortunately on the rise in the community again, we recognize that health care facilities and providers are not immune to COVID-19. Our priority is taking immediate action to prevent any further spread if cases are confirmed, while working closely with public health and continuing to reduce the risks to our patients and employees,” said St. Joseph Medical Center Chief Operating Officer, Timothy O’Haver.
St. Joseph Medical Center is following all public health recommendations, including several enhanced safety and personal protective equipment (PPE) measures across the CHI Franciscan system to limit potential spread.
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 to follow public health guidance. The best way to reduce infections and stay healthy is to wear a mask while in public and in any health care setting and remain six feet away from others.
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.