October 8, 2020 Community Update: This is an update regarding our employee who contracted coronavirus outside of work.
Today we are very pleased to report that contact tracing is complete and there have been no transmissions to staff or patients.
Everything outlined in our original notice was immediately implemented. Repeated testing of providers and staff has been completed. Everyone has been released from quarantine, and surgical services have returned to normal operations. This includes elective procedures and related clinical visits.
Everyone who works in the WhidbeyHealth team are deeply grateful for the unanimous concern and support we received from the community.
Operating a safe clinical and working environment is ‘job 1’ for us. Please remember that delaying care can be dangerous and make a medical problem worse. Owing to COVID-19, we have put many parts of our lives on hold, but your good health can’t wait. Learn more about how we are mitigating COVID risk here: https://whidbeyhealth.org/covid-19/.
September 27, 2020: We have received the unfortunate news that a member of our Surgical Services team has tested positive for COVID-19 after contracting the virus outside of work. Our team member reported symptoms which developed while at work and promptly went home to self-quarantine.
Exposure of patients and staff was limited to people who were in the operating room on September 22nd, 23rd, or 24th.
We have taken the following steps:
- We have been in direct contact with everyone who is affected. Patients have been given advice about obtaining testing if they choose. All exposed staff members have been swabbed and are self-quarantining at home.
- We are coordinating directly with Island County Public Health to assist with contact tracing and help contain the spread of the virus.
- Out of an abundance of caution, elective surgeries and non-urgent visits to our surgery, obstetrics and orthopedic clinics are postponed until October 7th. This will allow exposed staff to complete their period of quarantine.
- Urgent and emergency surgeries and care for moms in labor will continue as normal.
- Effective Monday, September 28th, we are limiting visitors to one support person per patient throughout the Medical Center and all clinics.
- Also effective Monday, the West Wind Café and Gift Shop will be closed to the public.
The safety of our patients and staff are paramount to everything we do. Thanks to the extraordinary support of our patients, the Whidbey Island Community, and the tireless efforts of our team, we have demonstrated our ability to maintain safe clinical environments during this pandemic.
Our infection control procedures include:
- Universal masking of patients, staff, and support persons, including patients when a provider enters their room
- Extensive use of PPE as required for each patient interaction
- Frequent handwashing and sanitizing
- Fever and recent history screening at all entrances to all facilities, including all staff who are screened daily
- Modifying our facilities to facilitate physical distancing
Our employee is to be congratulated for rapidly taking the correct actions as symptoms developed. We look forward to their speedy recovery and return to work. It is important to remember that healthcare workers are our neighbors, friends, and family members. Like everyone, we are all going about our daily lives outside of work and taking the best precautions possible.
Beating this pandemic requires participation from everyone. Please do your part by:
- Wearing cloth face coverings to protect others
- Washing and sanitizing your hands frequently
- Limit travel outside of Island County
- Reduce social gatherings to a weekly number fewer than 10 people outside of your direct household
More information about coronavirus is available online:
- Island County Public Health: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Health/Pages/COVID-19.aspx
- Washington State Department of Health: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19
Stay connected with us for current information at facebook.com/whidbeyhealth or on our website at whidbeyhealth.org.