Hospital employee tests positive for COVID-19

  • Kona Community Hospital. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today file photo)

A Kona Community Hospital employee has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the hospital confirmed Monday.

The employee was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on Friday, a statement from hospital spokeswoman Judy Donovan reads. The employee is quarantined at home and was tested after calling in sick to work.

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“Per hospital protocols, nursing is in the process of tracking and testing any employees who may have been in contact with the staff member,” said Interim Chief Nurse Officer Stephanie Irwin, RN, MSN.

Donovan said Monday afternoon that tracing continues but no additional employees or patients have met Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for testing after having contact with a COVID-positive person.

The criteria, each of which must be met, includes both parties not wearing a mask, being within 6 feet of another and spending more than 15 minutes or more together during a shift of eight hours of more.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital said it has been actively monitoring all staff for signs and symptoms of the virus, and providing testing when appropriate. The hospital’s Incident Command team is considering appropriate action related to employee testing.

“The state Department of Health has been consulted and supports the hospital’s care management of this employee, which includes precautions to protect our patients and staff,” the statement reads.

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The statement notes the hospital is following its COVID-19 “emergency management playbook” and has instituted daily staff temperature and symptoms checks. Further, employees who are sick or become symptomatic during work must stay home and notify their supervisor and Employee Health immediately.

“Kona Community Hospital works closely with our federal, state, and county partners to manage and respond to coronavirus cases as they arise,” said Infection Prevention and Employee Health Director, Lisa Downing, RN. “The health and safety of our staff and patients is our utmost priority.”

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