by KATE EVANS
Three staff persons at War Memorial Hospital’s Extended Care Facility have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources COVID-19 website data on Tuesday, October 20. The three cases are considered an outbreak.
War Memorial Hospital Vice President Heather Sigel, RN, BSN, MA said in an email that the three staff members were confirmed to have positive COVID-19 test results on Thursday, October 15 during their required monthly staff testing.
No additional staff members have tested positive at this time, Sigel said. No Extended Care Facility residents have tested positive at this time.
Sigel said that the three positive staff members were sent home to quarantine for at least 14 days.
“Visitation has been suspended and we are doing weekly COVID-19 testing of all staff and residents,” she said.
Sigel said that visitation for families has been suspended in the long term care unit. This visitation suspension doesn’t affect the hospital since they don’t have open visitation for patients.
“Patients in the acute unit are allowed two designated care partners but no open visitors except for end of life situations,” she noted.
Sigel explained that anything over one positive COVID-19 test result in long term care facilities constitutes an outbreak by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and state guidelines. With three positive cases they are required to do weekly testing of all staff and residents.
“We must have all negative results for 14 consecutive days before we can go back to monthly testing,” Sigel advised.
Sigel said that they “practice universal source control at War Memorial Hospital which means we require all staff, visitors and patients to wear masks in the building at all times. Universal source control includes social distancing, wearing masks and hand washing. We have guidelines around appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and we have plenty of supplies.”
In the hospital where there’s no open visitation, “each patient can designate a care partner who may stay in the room with the patient. This helps to decrease traffic and lower the risk of people sharing the virus,” she said.
“We are committed to keeping our patients and community safe,” Sigel emphasized.