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COVID-19 outbreak hits 30 patients, 6 staff at Vancouver, Wash., hospital

COVID-19 generic MGN

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — An outbreak of COVID-19 spread to 30 patients and six staff in the past week at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.

According to a news release from PeaceHealth on Friday evening, none of the patients were admitted because of the virus, and none tested positive upon admission. Additionally, six employees who were caring for the patients also tested positive for the virus.

PeaceHealth placed 86 employees in self-quarantine because of the outbreak.

The facility's medical officer says their infection specialists are conducting a review to understand the root cause of the outbreak.

Clark County Public Health and PeaceHealth are notifying potentially exposed patients.

News release:

PeaceHealth reports 30 patients testing positive for COVID-19 after admission
PeaceHealth - 01/01/21 5:58 PM

Jan. 1, 2021

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Over the past week, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center has identified 30 patients in the hospital that have been confirmed with COVID-19. These patients were not initially admitted for COVID-19 and received a negative COVID-19 test upon admission.

“Our Infection Prevention specialists immediately began conducting a thorough review to understand the root causes of this situation, and to ensure further protection for our patients and caregivers,” said Lawrence Neville, MD, chief medical officer. “This is a highly complex exposure, and we are continuing to look into the situation and have put control measures in place to prevent further exposures,” he added.

To date, six employees with links to caring for these COVID-19 patients have tested positive themselves, with 86 employees placed on self-quarantine to ensure the safety of all.

“Clark County Public Health is working closely with PeaceHealth to ensure anyone who may have been exposed is notified and all cases are isolated,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. “These steps help to protect the health of patients and staff at PeaceHealth.”

“I have full confidence in our highly qualified health care professionals to manage through this recent incident,” said Neville. “We have been treating COVID-19 patients for 11 months and have discharged nearly 600.”

Safety remains a top priority for PeaceHealth. This includes adherence to CDC and state guidelines, employees wearing personal protective equipment and masks, taking the daily temperature of all employees, testing all admitted patients, restricting visitors, and caring for COVID-19 patients on dedicated, isolated units.

“Unfortunately, this is a reminder that COVID remains in our community and can spread very rapidly. We must all remain vigilant about physical distancing, wearing masks and limiting our gatherings,” added Neville.

About PeaceHealth: PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Wash., is a not-for-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. It has approximately 16,000 caregivers, a group practice with more than 900 providers and 10 medical centers serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Northwest. In 1890, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace founded what has become PeaceHealth. The Sisters shared expertise and transferred wisdom from one medical center to another, always finding the best way to serve the unmet need for healthcare in their communities. Today, PeaceHealth is the legacy of the founding Sisters and continues with a spirit of respect, stewardship, collaboration and social justice in fulfilling its Mission. Visit us online at

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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