Sunday, November 29, 2020
Nov. 29, 2020

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Case count grows in COVID-19 outbreak at Tacoma hospital


TACOMA — CHI-Franciscan on Monday reported that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma has grown.

The Tacoma-based health system said it is continuing to work with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department in its investigation.

“There are currently seven employees and four patients who have tested positive. Public health investigations are underway to identify the root of possible transmission and connections between cases,” the health system said Monday evening.

“More than 1,000 employees have been tested out of an abundance of caution, and 834 results have been received as of October 26. We are working closely with public health and will follow their guidance regarding ongoing employee testing protocols.”

It added that all rooms on the seventh floor, the epicenter of the investigation, have been deep cleaned.

The first COVID-19 cases involved in the current investigation were first reported Oct. 22. At that time, two patients and one worker were reported to be infected.

The health system said all of the patients involved so far tested negative initially, then later tested positive. Suspected and confirmed COVID patients are placed in isolation, according to the health system.

The hospital is currently restricting new admissions and visitors on the seventh floor.

“Some currently scheduled in-patient procedures may be postponed if it is medically safe to do so,” the health system said.

CHI Franciscan has faced recent outbreaks at other facilities in its system, including St. Michael Medical Center and Franciscan Medical Group Cardiothoracic clinic, both in Kitsap County, and St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor.