Kona hospital ‘COVID-free’: Facility-wide testing of employees concludes with no positive results

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

Kona Community Hospital on Monday confirmed that its third and final facility-wide testing of employees for potential exposure to COVID-19 concluded with no positive results.

Mandatory testing of KCH employees, affiliated staff, providers and contractors was proactively initiated when three staff members tested positive to COVID-19 earlier in July, according to a press release from the hospital.

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The hospital and Premier Medical Group Hawaii conducted three campus-wide coronavirus testing clinics, and one community-based pop-up clinic over the past three weeks. More than 1,400 tests were administered.

“Testing was very successful and we are so proud of everyone for participating and for keeping our patients and community safe,” said Interim Chief Nurse Stephanie Irwin. “The repeated negative test results affirm that hospital staff are following strict protocols outlined in our COVID-19 management plan. We’re happy to assure staff and the community that the hospital is COVID-free.”

The first round of tests on July 17 turned up just one positive result among a worker from out of state who previously had COVID-19, had recovered and was symptom-free for more than the required 10-day period, and been cleared to work by the Department of Health.

Some 108 tests administered during the July 18 pop-up clinic for family members, visitors and discharged patients as well community members concerned about potential COVID exposure returned also returned negative.

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No details were released regarding the approximately 300 staff members who provide direct patient care retested on July 20. Those staffers were among those 499 tested again on Friday with negative results.

The hospital still has a no visitor policy in place with exceptions for OB, pediatrics and those receiving end-of-life care.

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