St. Mary’s Medical Center officials confirmed on Thursday that a number of positive COVID-19 cases have been reported among its staff.
“The situation was addressed quickly, and we continue to collaborate with Mesa County Public Health Department and adhere to all (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment) and (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines and protocols, including masking, PPE use, and screenings and testing for COVID-19,” a press release from SCL Health said.
St. Mary’s officials said plans and processes have been created to deal with any potential exposure.
They said no more information on the incident, including the number of positive tests, could be released due to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the only active outbreak in Mesa County has been at the Grandview Care Lodge Assisted Living.
Mesa County Public Health Executive Director Jeff Kuhr differentiated health care facility outbreaks from other outbreaks because they can be linked to multiple sources instead of just one. “If there is an increase in cases within a health care facility it is not considered an outbreak,” he said. “At health care facilities there’s always going to be several sources (where the virus could have originated from).”
At St. Mary’s, for example, 14 individuals were being treated for COVID-19, he said, and any one of them could be the source of transmission. “My team gets involved with contact tracing and case investigations and we are protecting anybody that they get in contact with outside the facility as well,” he said.
According to the CDPHE, a confirmed outbreak in a health care facility means two or more confirmed cases in residents with onset in a 14-day period.
A COVID-19 outbreak is considered over when 28 days have passed with no new illness, according to the CDPHE.