SEATTLE – A COVID-19 outbreak at Seattle’s Harborwood Medical Center has infected 14 people with the virus, one of whom has died, hospital officials said.
Dr. John Lynch says 10 staff members at Harborwidu tested positive like the other four patients. One patient later died at the hospital, Lynch said. The patient had pre-existing conditions, but Lynch did not elaborate. 10 staff members are recovering at home.
“It has become very clear that the virus is transmitted to patients and staff because it is very effective in the interval of known precautionary measures and it works at Harbervid and other medical sites,” Lynch said.
Lynch said it was in late September when they found out about the first infected patient, at the same time they were looking for other staff who were positive in the same medical unit.
They closed the unit for new admissions to keep patient numbers down and tested everyone on the unit and those who came in contact with the unit. They identified another infected patient and about 30 other staff members who could be identified.
“Those people are now in quarantine and about halfway through the two-week waiting period,” Lynch said.
The hospital still does not know the source of the outbreak. Lynch said all infected patients had been in the hospital for more than 14 days.
“So we’re really concerned about how the virus could get into this unit,” Lynch said.
Now they had to see through the record staff what patients had to see if they could be contacted.
Lynch said they don’t believe another patient brought it in, and only two patients had visits and most of those visitors have been tested and returned negative.
“We know that health care workers are positive and were positive at the time that patients then became positive,” Lynch said. Said Lynch. “So we are working on the assumption that this is linked to health care worker activity. It will be very difficult to prove. Indeed right now our investigation is focused on compliance with our standard and accepted PPE and potential gaps And around working with patients. “
Lynch reiterated that they are taking many precautions to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 and that the hospital will remain open. Harborweed is one of the only Level 1 trauma centers in the region.
“It’s a virus that catches any kind of behavior change,” Lynch said. “We have very strong personal protective devices to protect health care workers and protect patients. But the virus takes advantage of this when we change in any shape or form in the community or at work.”
Harborview says they will place additional limits on patient visitors and restrict the movement of patients around the hospital. They also need all staff who interact with patients who maintain eye protection.