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St. Charles Redmond reports COVID-19 outbreak; 31 caregivers affected

(Update: More info from hospital spokeswoman; outbreak began Jan. 6)

State, county health investigator investigating; hospital visits further limited

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – St. Charles Health System said late Wednesday it has reported an outbreak of COVID-19 cases at the St. Charles Redmond hospital campus to Deschutes County and the state of Oregon, affecting more than 30 caregivers.

As of Wednesday, 31 caregivers had tested positive for COVID-19, and their cases are being investigated in collaboration with Deschutes County Health Services and the Oregon Health Authority, the hospital system said.

An outbreak is defined as a cluster of cases that are related.

“We are taking every possible measure to stop the spread of the virus, to protect our patients and our caregivers,” said Aaron Adams, chief executive officer for the Redmond hospital. 

Iman Simmons, St. Charles' chief operating officer, told NewsChannel 21 Wednesday evening that 10 of the 31 caregivers had received the first of two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Simmons said St. Charles is working with the county and OHA to determine the timeline and origin of the outbreak.

She said the 31 caregivers will be on paid furlough for two weeks, but that they must be symptom-free and test negative for the virus before returning to work.

St. Charles spokeswoman Lisa Goodman told NewsChannel 21 Thursday, "The outbreak has caused some pressure on staffing. We’ve responded to that by asking caregivers to work overtime to cover shifts, and we brought in three traveling nurses.

"We have also slowed some procedures, and our census of patients has declined over the last five days," Goodman added.

Because St. Charles only began vaccinating caregivers on Dec. 21, none of the 31 caregivers who have tested positive would have received their second dose by Jan. 6, when the outbreak began, Goodman added.

In addition to existing COVID-19 precautions, St. Charles said 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 have any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild
  • Increasing air exchange to six times per hour
  • Increasing air filtration to more than the CDC recommendation (+90% filtration at .3 microns)
  • Instructing caregivers in direct patient care roles to use N95 respirators and eye protection throughout their shift while the outbreak is ongoing
  • Adding hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies to more locations throughout the facility
  • Asking caregivers to eat in the cafeteria or on the outside patio rather than in break rooms
  • Adding maximum capacity signage to all break rooms and conference rooms to ensure physical distancing can be maintained

The hospital is also currently limiting visitors to the following groups only:

  • A caregiver or attendant of a patient who needs assistance due to a language barrier or the patient’s disability, whether that disability is physical, developmental, intellectual, cognitive, behavioral or is related to altered mental status or communication, whose presence will assist the person with the disability in receiving treatment, ensure the safety of the patient or facility staff, or who must assist with activities of daily living 
  • A close family member of a patient undergoing end-of-life care as determined by the medical provider in charge of the patient’s care 
  • A parent or legal guardian of a hospitalized child. If one parent or legal guardian meets screening criteria but the other does not, only the parent or legal guardian who meets screening criteria must be guaranteed access

“We hope our community understands and will help us by following all COVID-19 restrictions, both inside and outside of our facilities,” Adams said. “The number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to be high throughout the region, and we need your help to ensure we have a healthy workforce to care for you and your loved ones.”

Central Oregon / Coronavirus / Redmond / Top Stories
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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.

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    1. they probably caught the virus at one of the dive bars or greasy spoons that claim to be struggling but can afford thousands of dollars in fines. Or more likely (if you are a regressive hillbilly) its all a hoax by lying, scheming doctors who are making tons of money off the fake outbreak!!! Soooooo much winning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. My concern is why is St Charles waiting until now to require their staff with direct patient contact to wear masks and eye protection? Its been reported for almost a year that we need to wear PPEs when dealing with patients and only now they make it a requirement?

      How much more incompetent can these people get before it becomes negligence? Because at this point, it appears St Charles is operating their facilities in a negligent manner!

    3. All hospital staff have been offered vaccinations. This outbreak was caused by one single individual brought to the emergency room who was combative over wearing a mask. She tested positive during her stay. By that time she had spread the CCP virus to caregivers. Which further proves that masks do not work. The care givers were wearing masks

  1. These hospitals are all ignoring the main culprit to these outbreaks- mail- deliveries-and outside providers who are not disinfecting their products upon delivery. The virus is being transmitted through “touched items” not face to face contact. Doosh County resident must demand Phylagen testing by all hospitals and nursing homes to clearly identify the source- so why won’t Kovid Kate EO this and save lives ?

    1. Still has to get from touched items to port of entry, airway as far as I know. Hand washing, given the growth of infections in central Oregon why didn’t the hospital take all those mearsures before an outbreak, I tell ya, the suits need to sit down and put infection control nurses in charge of teaching containing the virus

      1. Nope ! The virus has been found on cardboard for more than 24 hours- plastic for three days- in frozen foods for weeks ! Much like a cold virus- the bug will envelope your hand wrist upper arm until you move it close to your face to eat your banana. But let’s not argue- simply do as I suggest- demand a Phylagen test kit for $400 bucks (send the bill to Kovid Kate in Salem) and start swabbing any ol item you want- you will find the virus on boxes- mail- atm’s- pens- pencils- on the rugs- your shoes ! It’s not being transmitted by face to face contact ! Go ahead- Do the test- prove me wrong !

        1. You’re such a disgusting hypocrite. Do you remember when it was “a hoax?”

          You are not a competent person. I’ve said it before: GET HELP NOW. I’m genuinely worried that you’re going to suffer a full break and hurt people. It’s really, really scary what you’re saying. PLEASE find a person who can help and guide you URGENTLY.

          1. there must be some kind of womens outreach or support counciling that could help her. Been reading that alot of these conspiacy kooks are cracking up!!

          2. And you are such a bucket of skum snot- with your blatant ignorance towards what everyone here has been saying for months- that your mild virus with 99% survival rate (globally) is real- the overblown hysterical response from a militarized Demokrat party is your hoax- a scam so bad that even Mr. Lerten had to admit that Oregon hospitals have never been at risk for being “over-run”- and that nobody is dying “from” the virus- they are dying “with” the virus- which is undoubtedly being contracted while in the hospital setting- sometime either before or after their passing. So go suck an egg you hater !

    2. “China has been working very hard to contain the coronavirus,” Trump tweeted on Jan. 24. “The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”—–And you’re whining about Govenor Kate Brown!! LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. My guess is that you are wrong- and my guess is “educated” ! Based on the OHA guidelines and the OSHA mandates for break rooms and gathering points- that must include hard barriers- increased ventilation- no more than a specific number of occupants- cleaning schedules- proper signage- split schedules… what you are saying is that St Charles must be in violation of these rules- and would therefore be subject to OSHA fines ! So where is OSHA- and why isn’t Z21 demanding answers ?

  2. Wait, I thought St. Chuck’s did contact tracing just in case something like this happened. Follow the timeline back until you find out where it started, right?

    1. St Charles in Redmond belongs to Doosh County- who’s residents have refused to cooperate with Kovid Kate’s “contact tracing regulations for months on end- the most recent data has Doosh at about 60% participation rates…. while Crook and Jefferson are damn near 100% ! Doosh County residents in Bend- Deadmond- LaPine- and Sisters all suck rotten bananas ! You all talk a lot- the big experts in the region- yet when the doo-doo hits the fan- yer all MOUTH !

  3. Nurses, healthcare workers, including all staff at hospitals around the country are ready if any one of us gets injured in an unimaginable accident (You or someone you love). They have been risking their health and the health of their families for months during this pandemic not only helping people afflicted with this virus but all types of health issues. They are a core part of our community and they deserve to be treated with love and respect. My heart goes out to all the healthcare workers and their families that have been unfortunately affected by this latest situation. There is so much love for you in this community and we hope you feel it.

    1. Absolutely agree. These caregivers are the very best of us. I hope the cause of the outbreak is identified and remedied. Without M.D.’s, R.N.’s, R.T.’s, and all other hospital staff, we have no first line against this vicious disease.

    1. Staff are being vaccinated based on their proximity to patients during work and if they want the vaccine. SCMC is not forcing staff to get the vaccine. I don’t know where the staff who contracted COVID work. Caregivers who work closely with patients are getting their second dose now. Many already have. Many sources on the web are saying people are about 50% immune a week after the first dose, 95% or better a week after the second dose for the Pfizer vaccine. I suspect that the staff who were vaccinated either did not get the second dose prior to contracting COVID-19, or had just got COVID within about a day after the second dose. Based on reports of side effects after the second dose, it seems that the body is building immunity fastest between 24 hours and 36 hours after injection. The SCMC vaccination tracker yesterday showed that 6024 “people” have received the first dose, 1742 received the second.

        1. What’s with this “we” garbage ? Doesn’t it seem odd to any of you that nobody knows exactly who has been infected ! AND- this comes right on the heels of a major controversy over who should get President Trump’s vaccine first ! seems to me there are two things in play (1)- If there has been a major outbreak at this hospital- then the numbers won’t stop at 31- they should reach well into the 90’s or 100- that is based on CNN headlines that insist this virus is as virulent as Ebola. (2) OSHA must identify the source of infection- detail to the public- and initiate thousands of dollars in fines for this breech of Brown’s EO mandates that have led to a viral outbreak… This must happen to ensure public trust- especially for those small Mom and Pop shops that have been under attack by OSHA- and have never had an outbreak ! Why is KTVZ hiding this aspect of this story ? Why the blackout on real local news ?? What says Barney Lerten ???

  4. Another example of ‘the worst place to be if you are sick is a hospital’. They are now going to take every step to stop the spread of the virus? Well, they were obviously sloppy before. Really bad look and confirmation of the reputation of St. Charles.

  5. Has St Charles management been providing appropriate PPE to their nurses and doctors?

    Testing before they are allowed to return to work after days off?

    And more?

    Likely not, as seen with the VA in Portland and Providence, as well. Which is why the nurses in particular have spoken out about such outbreaks.

    1. I can say that PPE availability at SCMC has improved since the beginning of the pandemic. Originally gowns were running out all the time requiring reusing them. Not so much now. Also, N95 masks seem plentiful as well as eye protection and PAPR respirator supplies. If our numbers of patients requiring staff to wear PPE remains stable, SCMC seems to be adequately supplied.

      1. So from a (self proclaimed) insider’s point of view- the issue doesn’t seem to be PPE… so it’s either policy- poor practices- lack of proper sanitation procedures- or a complete misunderstanding to what is fueling the spread… which I do not believe is face to face contact- and your comments here support that. Simple question- is SCMC dry fogging their deliveries from outside sources ? Are they using HOCL in any manner like what we see overseas ?? Has SCMC identified the sources through Phylagen testing kits ??? if not- why not ? These kits- these foggers- these cleaning agents should be provide for free from the Governors massive billion dollar Kovid chest of money !

  6. 31 – overnight? over the course of what time period? any tested positive after the shot? how many of these 31 got their regular flu shot this year? so many unanswered questions…..

  7. So far today, over 200 people have died from covid thanks to Bidens lack of leadership.
    Biden is also allowing anarchists to riot in Portland, and his failing policies have caused suicide bombing in Bagdad.

      1. I’m learning to argue like a liberal, and talk about fun!
        You can say the dumbest stuff you can think of without any thought, facts or reason. Just keep repeating it and it becomes true 🙂
        (This is actually where a liberal would attack you personally to deflect from how stupid they are, but I’m not in the advanced class yet)…

  8. If 31 infected health care workers did not infect one patient, wearing a mask would appear to be a very effective deterrent. I agree with Keyser Soze that the break room was the probable culprit.
    The image of ‘its a hoax’ BGHW meticulously scrubbing each piece of mail is a hoot. Watta a loser.

    1. Actually I agree- “meticulously scrubbing each piece of mail is a hoot”… But that’s not the way it’s done- and you only embarrass yerself with such stoopidity. Here- stop denying the science and try getting educated- it will set you free !………… video in use….…. Your hoax is denying the science- relying on fake information to promote your political agenda- Flat Earthers suck !

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