Local Healthcare Worker Tests Positive for COVID-19
Miller Report for week of May 11, 2020; by William Miller, MD.
On Monday, May 11th, we were notified that one of our staff members at the hospital has tested positive for COVID-19. This test was done out of the county and will not appear on tallies for Mendocino County. As you know, we have been preparing for the inevitable eventuality of our first case in the community since this pandemic hit our shores.
Upon receipt of this information, we immediately notified the Mendocino County Health Department and have been working closely with them in our response to the situation. We have generated a list of all staff and patients who may have been in contact with this staff member. As of this writing on May 12th, we have already tested 54 of our staff members who may have had contact and we expect results in the next day or so.
We have started the process of notifying each patient who was in our hospital or ED between April 29th and May 5th and who may have had contact with this staff member to instruct them on self-isolation and offer testing to them. If you think you may be one of those patients, you can call us. However, please, only call if you were a patient here in our ER or admitted to the hospital between those dates.
There is a lot of speculation already flying around on social media about this case. So, let me respond to some of the rumors. Yes, this person is a traveler, but she is also one of our regular nurses who has worked here for several years. The fact that she is a traveler does not mean that she brought it into the community. In fact, since she has been here for a significant period of time, so it is equally possible that she contracted it from a community member already here, even perhaps from a patient. We simply do not know at this time and should not jump to conclusions.
Since the onset of the COVID crisis, we have been closely adhering to the latest guidelines from the CDC. All of our staff have been wearing masks, practicing distancing and doing frequent handwashing. These are the most important ways to prevent spread. We also greatly appreciate all of the community members who have been also doing those things as well as sheltering-in-place. We know that this is the best way to prevent the spread in our community. This is the reason that we need to enforce such requirements.
We are committed to keeping our staff and patients safe. We are also committed to keeping our community members informed. We will continue to put out information to the community as it becomes available.