Protocols in Place to Protect Patients and Employees from Mutual Exposure
HILLSDALE, Mich.—A Hillsdale Hospital employee has tested positive for COVID-19—the first employee confirmed with the virus. The individual did not work in direct patient care and has been self-isolating for the past eight days, beginning when they first experienced symptoms. The patients receiving care in the area of the hospital where the employee worked were notified immediately, along with their families, of the positive test result.
“Our staff are following all appropriate protocols to protect themselves and our patients,” Randy Holland, infection control officer, said. “Self-monitoring, temperature checks and appropriate mask usage are major components of our effort to limit exposure. Should an employee exhibit symptoms or be suspected of having COVID-19, they will stay off work from the time of first showing symptoms and testing until the end of the appropriate self-isolation period. This person has now been off of work for more than a week and has indicated that their symptoms have reached the point of resolution.”
To limit further exposure, the hospital is working to identify all those in direct extended contact and will have those individuals begin to self-monitor.
“As the first employee to test positive, it is very unlikely that they acquired this here,” Holland said. “It has also been eight days since testing, therefore in all probability, if other employees were exposed, they would have developed some symptoms by this point.”
Even before the employee began exhibiting symptoms, the hospital had put procedures in place to limit exposure through proper personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning protocols and mandatory employee, patient and visitor screening.
“With this being there first case of a hospital employee testing positive for COVID-19, we wanted to share our procedures with the community to provide an understanding of how we protect our employees and our patients from exposure at the hospital,” JJ Hodshire, chief operating officer, said. “We understand that with a pandemic like this, we are likely to see more positive test results from our employees. They may be exposed at the grocery store, through a family member or any other possible way, including at work. That is why we are strictly adhering to our policy of screening all employees prior to starting work each day, using the proper PPE, cleaning frequently and practice social distancing even among our employees.”
Since the pandemic began, Hillsdale Hospital has been increasing its efforts to limit exposure as new or greater risk has emerged, including more positive cases in the community.
“We have limited trips by staff between the hospital and our other buildings and locations,” Hodshire said. “We have prohibited employees from eating meals in the cafeteria, instead asking them to eat in more isolated areas of their departments. We are also requiring all employees to wear masks at all times.”
The hospital will continue to monitor its employees for their health and safety, as well as that of their patients.
“As we continue to fight this battle with COVID-19, we will remain vigilant in protecting our team and our patients from exposure at the hospital,” Hodshire said.
For more information on Hillsdale Hospital’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, visit hillsdalehospital.com/coronavirus.