St. Michael Medical Center Community Update
Updated: November 27, 2020
St. Michael Medical Center continues to work with the Kitsap Public Health District (KPHD) as we collectively address the steep increase of COVID-19 cases in the community.
Due to expanded and proactive surveillance testing by the hospital, as of Nov. 25, nine staff members were identified as COVID positive from the hospital’s Emergency Services department and two other nursing units. There were no shared shifts between the employees and following contact tracing investigations, there are no known transmissions or close contacts between them.
Transmission is not believed to be hospital-acquired and is likely community-acquired. COVID positive staff are at home quarantining. All employees were wearing appropriate PPE throughout their shifts, which means this is considered a low-risk exposure to other staff or patients they may have treated.
As we are seeing across the state, widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the community increases the potential for health care workers to become sick or need to quarantine. Along with our partners at public health, we urge the community to stay healthy and help protect our health care workers by taking steps to stop the spread, including staying home, wearing masks, and washing their hands.
Out of an abundance of caution, we have notified those who may have been impacted. These recent employee cases were discovered through our robust surveillance testing efforts. To help ensure the safety of our patients and employees — especially given the significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the community — we regularly test employees, including those who have not had a known exposure.
We recognize patients may be concerned during these challenging times. However, it is urgent that patients do not delay seeking care if they are facing emergencies, such as symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, or injuries like broken bones. St. Michael Medical Center has several protocols in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including restricting visitors to help keep patients and staff safe.
Additionally as of November 25, no additional staff or patients have tested positive related to the previously reported 3 West unit cases since the first round of testing. The 3W unit is reopened to patients in alignment with staffing and testing recommendations from the Kitsap Public Health District.
St. Michael Medical Center COVID-19 response
St. Michael 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.
As part of our efforts to address the outbreak at St. Michael Medical Center earlier this summer, we made a number of changes to policies across our system to ensure we are doing everything possible to limit the spread of COVID in our facilities.
Additional actions we have taken that remain in place include:
- Ongoing training and updates for all employees on PPE procedures
- Instituting N95s/Controlled Air-Purifying Respirators (CAPRs) plus eye protection for all aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs)
- Increasing PPE levels onsite (including 60 recently purchased CAPRs)
- Implementing all state Department of Health (DOH) and KPHD recommendations
We are looking forward to our December 12 move to our new facility in Silverdale. In addition to a number of benefits to patients and employees, it features heightened safety measures that will further enhance our COVID-19 response, including negative airflow capabilities for all rooms to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases, more spacious dining space and break rooms for staff to maintain social distance, and all-private patient rooms that will minimize close contact between patients and staff.
CDC guidance, testing policy, and seeking care when you need it
Visitor restrictions are still in place throughout St. Michael Medical Center, with a few exceptions for beginning of life and end of life. As standard protocol, all patients are tested prior to being admitted to the hospital, and all employees and visitors are screened upon entering the facility.
We recently purchased an antigen testing machine, primarily utilized for patients to quickly put patients in the appropriate beds – freeing up additional beds for other patients. In general, we are preserving two to four-hour turnaround tests for our patients so we can appropriately place them and assign their isolation status and ensure the staff have the appropriate PPE on as soon as possible after admission.
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.