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St. Charles Redmond COVID-19 outbreak traced to patient who tested negative — twice

St. Charles Redmond
KTVZ file
St. Charles Redmond

Had conditions that made it difficult to wear mask; third test was positive; 33 caregivers, one patient affected

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) – St. Charles Health System’s investigation of a COVID-19 outbreak at its Redmond hospital revealed that the source was a COVID-positive patient, the organization announced late Friday.

The patient — who had underlying health conditions that at times made it difficult to wear a mask—was admitted to St. Charles Redmond on Dec. 31 and was initially tested twice for COVID-19, officials said. Because both tests resulted negative, St. Charles caregivers continued to wear droplet precaution personal protective equipment (PPE).  

On Jan. 6, the patient was tested a third time for COVID-19, and that test resulted positive.  

After performing an investigation with the assistance of Deschutes County Health Services and the Oregon Health Authority, St. Charles’ Infection Prevention team determined the Redmond caregivers’ droplet precaution PPE was overwhelmed by prolonged exposure to the highly symptomatic COVID-positive patient.  

“The important learning from this outbreak is that negative COVID-19 test results are not foolproof,” said Dr. Jeff Absalon, St. Charles’ chief physician executive. “In spite of negative test results, if a patient is highly symptomatic, we will need to treat them as if they are COVID-19 positive and aerosolizing, in which case the higher level of PPE is required.” 

Evidence suggests that COVID-19 tests are most accurate five to seven days after exposure. The virus incubates up to 14 days, taking time to build up in a person’s system. 

To date, one patient and 33 St. Charles caregivers at the Redmond hospital have tested positive for COVID-19. Because the health system began its vaccination campaign Dec. 21, none of the 33 caregivers at the Redmond hospital were fully vaccinated. 

On Friday, the St. Charles Infection Prevention team expects to complete its outreach to patients who may have been at risk of exposure due to the timing of their stay at the Redmond hospital. All current in-patients at the Redmond hospital have been informed that none of them were exposed. 

“We have a strong contact tracing system in place for caregivers that is working to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Absalon said. “In the meantime, it’s important to stress that we feel confident our Redmond hospital is a safe place to receive care.” 

The health system has also instituted some changes at the Redmond hospital, 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 exchanges 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 

·         Temporarily limiting visitors to a higher degree than before  

“This sort of situation isn’t any one person’s fault,” Absalon said. “Everyone is working hard to maintain a safe environment, and as an organization we continue to learn and adjust to improve safety for all.” 

An FAQ about the outbreak is also available on St. Charles’ website. 

KTVZ news sources



  1. Bottom line…staff was really sloppy about PPE. They made a bunch of assumptions and decisions based on bad information. If you are a healthcare provider, you need to assume the worst, not accept bad tests results on face value. Be careful if you are admitted to St. C.!

    1. You couldn’t be further from the truth Flash. You shouldn’t think in a flash. The truth is the staff at St Charles wears their PPE to include goggles. I hear that there is more to the story than what they told KTVZ

      1. Very simple. Correct wearing of PPE would have prevented this. Particularly the spread from one staffer to another. One or two getting it from a freak situation with an improperly diagnosed patient is conceivable, but not all those people passing it on to each other. That is where the bigger failure must have occurred. The basic rule is ‘treat everybody that you even get close to as if they are infected’. It is like defensive driving that my Dad taught me: treat every other driver as if they are trying to kill you. I have not heard another case in the country like this. Maybe there is one, but it is clearly a failure in taking proper precautions. Unless, as you say, there is more to the story than what was reported.

        1. Agreed ! All of these nurses and staff have received OSHA required respirator fit testing to work in this environment- there has obviously been a breach of protocol- where is Oregon OSHA ???

      2. hold up Fed – are you now acknowledging the real and apparent danger of this virus? (the giant hoax, remember?) – the cult is splintering and its supplicants wander the landscape not sure what they are angry about now, but constantly in search for someone to attack…

    2. So if you are talking to your neighbor who had just tested negative, and you are both wearing masks, you might still become infected. Kind of scary. Certainly food for thought.

    3. Be careful if you are admitted to St.Chucks anytime. The hospital is a joke,
      unfortunately they are the only game in town…
      I have been admitted a few times over the last couple of years, and made numerous
      trips to the E.R, and have come to the conclusion that a lot of the doctors suck…
      They act like you are bothering them by being there, and that they are doing a person a favor by talking to them. In all fairness I have seen a couple doctors there that were great, but they are definitely in the minority. They actually acted like they care and seemed like they truly want to help…

      I do have to give the nurses credit though, because the times that I was admitted,
      they have all been outstanding…
      As far as PPE goes, the last couple times I was in the E.R, I saw some people just wearing
      the basic face mask, while some had the basic face mask and a shield, and some had the basic mask, a shield, and goggles.
      I’ve also seen a couple people that were wearing contained fresh air systems.

  2. I’ve gotten good care there over the years. The staff there are in a dangerous job, and I appreciate them so much. They are our friends and neighbors, and I for one hope they all have a quick and full recovery.

  3. Where’s that delusional “Barneygetshiswish” commenting on this? Yesterday he was confidently saying it was caused by packages being delivered to the hospital, based on…nothing…other than his alternative reality. That BGHW guy is good for some good laughs, but too bad there are so many like him these days!

    1. Where’s BGHW ??? What the hell buddy- right here ! Right here to condemn St Charles for shoddy sanitary practices and improper use of their PPE. As for the infected individual… how did he/she/it originally become infected ??? Your rant is typically idiotic and based on girly hysterics- you’ve not proven a damn thing… I’m willing to bet that the original infection came off a box of holiday cookies ! Go ahead brainiac- prove that wrong ! Without a Phylagen test… YOU CAN’T !!! Time for everyone in Oregon to fess up and admit I’m right ! St Charles and the hospital industry is failing you big time- it is a scandal in the making- you just watch !

      1. ROTFLMAO, a classic Friday night line from the King of Trolls: “Time for everyone in Oregon to fess up and admit I’m right ! ”
        Oh if only we all followed the Pied Piper of Self-Righteous Whatever into the Great Beyond of BGHW Omnipotence!
        After all, He’s Misstra Know it All! (Stevie Wonder is blind, what’s your excuse?)

          1. I have to agree with Shaq on this Barney. Avoid sparring with people. It is unnecessary. If Z21 does not want comments on their site then follow the lead of Eugene’s KEZI and eliminate the comment section.

            1. It may come to that. Hoping we can try a more community-moderated system like Reddit available on the WP platform that allows up-down votes to surface valued discussion and “sinks” the trolls into obscurity. We’ll see.

          2. On one hand I agree with you about Barney. He and I have gotten into it on several occasions. BUT, and this is a big but. He is the only moderator in the country that I know of (I subscribe to about ten newspapers and comment a lot) who truly allows reasonable free speech). So, I cut him some slack for being human. I was cut off from the other local TV outlet for just making a mild comment about poor reporting, and you will see they cut off comments quickly if they don’t like it.

            1. Sadly, that’s because of the people – note I don’t say conservatives or liberals, PEOPLE – who abuse such systems. Years ago, online discussions (I’ve been at it for decades) were civil and fun. Now it’s harsh and even frightening. Some would again blame the media. I say social media has unfortunately allow people to become so divided they only believe “their” news sources not the ones that spread “evil” etc. Facebook comment threads become… toxic. But I have several places on Reddit where thanks to firm moderation rules and the up-down voting, you can engage in productive civil dialogue, get questions answered well, etc.

            2. I’ll agree with flash about this comment arena being more tolerant than almost all others,especially when they are affiliated with CNN,Yahoo, FB,Twitter and most other liberal media. I used to read comments on Yahoo’s new forums and they took it down just before the election because the vast majority of comments were pro Trump or at least leaning heavily to the conservative point of view. Censorship abounds these days and I fear it’s just the beginning. It’s OK to speak your mind asking as it fits their agenda. The first amendment only applies if one complies. So leave Barney alone, I have come to realize he’s more tolerant than most people who comment here.

          3. Don’t be “sad”- be “aware”- read the response from B- then ask the question… just what part of BGHW triggered that response- one that personally targeted no-one.Here’s what you are seeing- state-wide media efforts to enable- promote- and legitimize Kovid Kate Brown’s failures (at every level) since she entered the Governor’s office. This corrupt media has failed at it’s basic responsibilities for four years- has politicized and weaponized itself- and has lost all it’s integrity- morals- and ethics in the process. Posters and commentators here must demand that both sides of these stories be presented- Amerika will never heal without it- and will continue to march towards civil unrest- Nothing to do with BGHW- this is on the media and their 11% nationwide approval ratings- imagine if yer kid got 11 lout of 100 questions correct on a quiz- you’d be livid- so how is this any different ? Find your bigly voice and stop pandering !

          4. Barney puts up with the Komrade BGHW toxicity non stop.

            Maybe you appreciate or enjoy BGHW toxicity/ crap but personally I find it tiresome.

            And frankly your comment is “sad”.

            1. “Journalists” don’t “put up” with anything- they report ! And they are to do so under the spirit of “The First Amendment, which protects freedom of the press, was adopted on December 15, 1791, as part of the Bill of Rights.” Those of you who align philosophically with Mr B are the real problem here. Those of you who never challenge the narrative- kiss up to- and allow one side to dominate the discussion through hate- anger- and personal attacks are given free rein to abuse and shout down alternative opinions- scientific data and real life experiences. So instead of all this negative focus on BGHW- why not ask yerself if this is true ? Do posters like Anonymousktvz-Kuya-Fester- frog eyes spend more “time” here flooding this site with angry outbursts and personal attacks- I know for a fact- that those of us that work for a living spend a few minutes in the morning and a few in the evening responding to stories… Some of us don’t need all day to make a point ! For those of you really wanting to know the problems with today’s media- here’s a good overview from the History Channel.

        1. And there goes your local liberal news hack around these parts- doling out insults- red herrings- and looky lookys over here- instead of getting back behind the news desk to get answers for a simple question- that should be the focus of everyone’s attention- right at the top of your screen- “Had conditions that made it difficult to wear mask; third test was positive; 33 caregivers, one patient affected”…. So what kind of lame excuse for a massive hospital outbreak is this ? Any well seasoned journalist would put the basics together- the patient is not masked up- but anyone entering the room is- testing negative or not is a side issue- but the fact is- anyone entering this room is still to treat the patient as if they are positive- that is the world President Trump created before he left- through the CDC guidelines. So clearly if the the nursing staff is masked up-and washing accordingly- the virus was transmitted- not through face to face contact- but through objects like food utensils- their clothes- on their shoes. Working in this environment of germs, bacteria, and viruses is all basic hospital hygiene these people learn in school- OTJ- job site training etcetera. I’m sick and tired of Z21 pandering- protecting- and enabling every failed SOP out here in Oregon. Again- where is OSHA ? Where are the board reviews ?? where are the humidifiers containing HOCL… like we see in Korea- Japan- parts of Hong Kong- places that don’t have liberal loud mouths shooting themselves in the foot- there ya go ROTFLMAO at that dose of reality !

      2. Sorry “buddy” BGHW, but if you make a completely delusional, idiotic claim that the infection came from a “box of holiday cookies” (or whatever package), then the onus is on YOU to prove such a statement, not me. Try some logic. Pathetic.

  4. The people at the hospital are human and this virus is insidious. They have been working under the shadow and threat of this thing nearing a year. I wish them well and any that were affected, I know that I would not want to be a healthcare worker right now.

    1. “Everyone” has been working (and living) under the shadow of this virus- and the whole hoax for over a year now. So let’s be clear- this virus is mild- 99% recovery- is killed on contact with various “all natural” chemicals like HOCL- doesn’t attack children the way the seasonal flu does- must be in combination with those identified as having “underlying conditions” to be even remotely fatal- suggesting that it is the underlying condition much more than the mild virus. So what is fueling this hoax ? One that has the State of Oregon literally living under Martial Law- and no-one has argued this point. Martial Law has historically been under the heavy-handed rule of dictators and tyrants- so why should anybody be offended by pointing this out ! Numerous countries have a firm grasp on controlling this virus- places like New Zealand- who have determined the virus is being spread through shipping items- and Viet-Nam- Korea- Japan… All have “deaths per million population” hundreds of times lower than Oregon- thousands of times lower than the USA ! Stop following failed science for political purposes and start implementing practices that work ! Kovid Kate won’t listen- and she is being protected by our corrupt US media- go ahead- pull yer own data- use yer own logic- and prove me wrong !

      1. Stella Immanuel is more believable than BGHWUHAN. At least she’s more creative. Alien DNA, sex dreams with demons. Maybe try branching out a little BGHWUHAN.

  5. Shaq it shows that Barney is human at times and not totally singing the governor’s praises all the times on here its a good break to see him get on the intellectual teeter totter with bghw and others from time to time. Now what are the chances Barney that this outbreak is gonna quote unquote frazzle Kate’s nerves as she wants us to thank her for her superheroine work on keeping us safe and cause her to keep us locked down till march?

    1. I’m also old-fashioned enough that I feel rude to not answer when people try to drag me into these debates. But Doug… no, please stop doing that. Ask others here. Engage in civil dialogue. Please don’t assume I’m going to get into political discussions just because you ask a question. There’s plenty of others here to ask.

      1. That is the kind of answer that should concern all fair minded and “a-political” observers from coast to coast. My response to such an accusation would be to say- Gee Doug- I’m sorry you feel that way- as I believe I have a mountain of evidence available to refute the accusations. In fact- if you just look at my most recent response to BGHW- you’ll see that I have indeed reached out to the Governor’s office to find out why OSHA is not ramping up their fines, penalties, and enforcement options towards St Charles.” But you know what Mr. B- you can’t do that- because the accusations are accurate- and you would rather duck and dive than address this blatant and obvious transgression against civil discourse ! Point that finger at me all you want- I’ll continue to go all Howard Cosell on you and… “tell it like it is” !

      2. Mr. Lerten, you are doing an extraordinary job. I often wonder, due to the vast popularity of your news site, if it has been infiltrated by the St. Petersburg-based IRA. I think their philosophy is to gainsay everything (as in Monty Python’s Argument Room) for no other reason than to create discord and prevent agreement on anything. They are in constant faultfinding mode, as well as openly misogynous and borderline racist. I wouldn’t mind if you lowered the boom, but I realize part of your sacred trust is to facilitate openness and free speech.

  6. The PCR tests have always been the wrong test to use. The cycle thresholds are far too high and in this case, as you can see, don’t even work at all. How many false positives have forced people away from family?

  7. Thanks to the post-holiday willingness of the people of Oregon and Deschutes County to adopt anti-Covid-19 precautions, we now find ourselves–as a population–trending in a good direction. Oregon’s Rt value has dipped below 1.0, which means we, at least for now, are sidestepping exponential growth.

    I think we have to credit Governor Brown for her persistence and dogged leadership. She is a profile in courage.

    It is so unfortunate what is happening at St. Charles Redmond. Those of us who work in facilities with, so far, no outbreaks should acknowledge, I think, luck as one factor. People who consistently scoff at health care providers should realize that extraordinary diligence is used by everyone; PPE includes–not just masks–but gloves, gowns, shoe covers, head covers, and face shields. But, continued shortages of the vital N-95 masks require reuse and, consequently, increased risk of contact transmission. Letting down one’s guard even for an micro-instance can invite the infection inside. I do hope this tendency to bash health care workers has vanished over the horizon with that last flight of Air Force One to Palm Beach.

  8. Meanwhile, the real Joe B, has came out, just days into his new gig, and said of the “pandemic” There is NOTHING we can do. At least he tried.

    1. Price of…where did you hear that? Quit making things up, or at the least, repeating lies you hear on OAN or Newsmax (or whatever your non-reality source is). Please stop lying.

  9. Dont see that a happening as there is more fear to monger with blaming an outbreak on the double negative test. The media would like for us to think trump is out there striking fear into lawmakers making them think any moment one of his supporters will bum rush them outside the capitol. Your right bghw that governor is going on what media is feeding her as could see this outbreak pushing her to return things way they were last march.

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