Eight employees at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19. These positive test results were received over the last two days. All eight employees are currently self-isolating at home and “doing well” according to OH Chief Medical Officer Francis DuFrayne.
Owensboro Health could not release additional information about the staff who tested positive, including their positions or conditions. They could possibly take antibody tests — which determine whether one is immune or not — after their 14-day quarantine and before returning to work.
Vice President of Medical Affairs Michael Kelley said there’s a process in place for determining when employees who test positive are able to return to work at the hospital. A large part of that process involves monitoring the individuals’ fever and other symptoms.
DuFrayne pointed out only eight out of 4,500 OHRH employees have tested positive, but that the number is likely to increase.
“Is it possible we will see more positive test results? Absolutely,” he said. “We don’t live in an isolated environment. These employees are in the same situation as the rest of the community. They’re going to the grocery for essential items, and they’re [out in public]. Unfortunately, that comes with a risk for exposure. But these employees are no different than anybody else in the general public.”
Upon learning of these cases, the hospital took immediate action to isolate the individuals and notify those who may have come in contact with them, according to a statement released by DuFrayne.
“In addition to following the latest infection control guidance from the CDC, we continue to take aggressive measures to protect our patients and team members,” DuFrayne’s statement reads. “All employees are screened for fever or other symptoms of respiratory disease before beginning their shifts. Any employee with symptoms or who has been in contact with a suspected case is not allowed to enter the building.”
In addition, all hospital team members and outpatients are required to wear surgical masks at all times while in the hospital. Visitor restrictions remain in place for OH hospitals and clinics, and temperature checks are conducted on all entrants to those buildings.
“We remain in regular contact with public health authorities and other hospitals in the region to respond to this public health emergency, including establishing contingency plans to expand inpatient care as needed through use of alternate sites and other strategies,” DuFrayne said. “The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented challenge and our hearts go out to every person who is being impacted.”
The Owensboro Health coronavirus hotline is available 24/7 by calling 877-888-6647. Call the hotline before seeking in-person care. More information from OH can be found here.
For the latest information and data on COVID-19 in Kentucky visit kycovid19.ky.gov or dial the Kentucky state hotline at 800-722-5725.
For the latest health guidelines and resources from the CDC, visit their website here.