KEALAKEKUA — Kona Community Hospital will maintain visitation restrictions on patient units as the facility enters the second month of a scabies outbreak, the hospital announced in a press release Friday.
The decision was made to maintain visitor restrictions to patient care areas in order to control the flow of traffic through the hospital and prevent cross-contamination, which can lead to re-exposure, the release read.
However, KCH is making some exceptions to its temporary policy and will allow some visitation in the obstetrics and intensive care units — areas where new and expecting mothers along with their children and critically ill patients are cared for, respectively.
KCH confirmed the outbreak internally on Nov. 19. The hospital has since employed a variety of protocols to contain the spread of scabies, which is a highly contagious but common infection that spreads from person to person by skin-to-skin contact and potentially other methods involving towels and bedding. Signs and symptoms include intense itching and a pimple-like rash.
Hospital leadership stressed in the release that the hospital itself is not closed. KCH continues to treat and admit patients to all hospital units, including all inpatient and outpatient services, the release read.
Scabies has an incubation period of two to eight weeks from potential exposure to active symptoms. During this time an exposed person is still considered contagious.
The hospital will continue to monitor employees and patients for the maximum period, the release stated.
Any who want more information about scabies can visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease_listing/scabies/ or https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/scabies/index.html.