Six South Penininsula Hospital employees COVID-19 positive over past three weeks

Jun 18, 2020

Credit PBS

Six employees of South Peninsula Hospital have been diagnosed positive with COVID-19 over the past three weeks. That information came from SPH spokeswoman Derotha Ferraro Thursday morning on KBBI’s COVID Brief.
     “So we have six employees, since late May, it's actually three weeks today. And of those six, that represents one percent, just over one percent of our 480 employees,” Ferraro said. “And these six employees work in five different departments. And none of these employees reported close contact with patients or residents.”
    None may have reported close contact with others, but in the first case, Ferraro says the SPH employee worked with the hospital’s most vulnerable, in the long-term care facility.
    “One of them did work some in long term care. And that was actually the first positive employee that we had,” Ferraro said. “And when we discovered that, we followed CDC and Alaska epidemiology instructions, and we immediately informed all staff and residents, and then we tested 100 percent of the residents and 100 percent of the long term care staff. And the first round of that was all negative. And just in the last, really, the last three days, we've been finishing up the second round of testing of everybody.”
    Ferraro says none of the six positive cases of COVID-19 among South Peninsula Hospital staff were contracted from patients.
    “None of these six ended up getting COVID-19 because of providing care or interacting with a patient with COVID-19. They may have had some, you know, some workplace exposure, but that might've been with coworkers,” Ferraro said.
    Ferraro acknowledged that there has been an increase in hospitalizations at SPH, but declined to offer any specifics to quantify the increases of Covid-19 positive cases seen at the hospital in the past month since cases have skyrocketed in Homer and on the South Kenai Peninsula.
     “I will tell you that we saw a slight increase, and we are seeing a slight increase, of individuals seeking medical care and advice due to COVID-19 symptoms,” Ferraro said. “So the phone, the ER and hospitalizations are active.”
    On May 18, the daily test report from South Peninsula Hospital stood at: 721 tests given, 688 negative, five positive, and 28 pending. As of air time, the most recent figures available from South Peninsula Hospital were from June 17, and show 3,225 tests given, with 2,999 negative, 63 positive, and 163 pending.
    They do not reflect the 494 tests given by SVT Health and Wellness, which have turned up 11 positive cases for a total of 74 COVID-19 cases in the area. All but five from the last month.