News

Restrictions Lifted at Kona Community Hospital

January 14, 2019, 4:20 PM HST
* Updated January 16, 11:52 AM
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Visitor restrictions have been lifted at Kona Community Hospital (KCH) as infection prevention protocols have been modified effective Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.

Kona Community Hospital. Kona Community Hospital file photo.

KCH has been working to contain the spread of scabies, a highly contagious, but common infection that spreads from person to person by skin-to-skin contact. Signs and symptoms include intense itching and a pimple-like rash.

Although precautions have been relaxed, hospital leaders state that it is too early to issue an all clear. Scabies has an incubation period of two to eight weeks, during which an exposed person can still spread scabies. The hospital will continue to monitor employees and patients for the maximum period.

Since the Nov. 19, 2018, diagnoses at KCH, hospital staff have taken aggressive measures to treat, disinfect and contain the Scabies situation, including:

  • Hospital-wide disinfection with mite-specific EPA registered product
  • Preventive treatment of ALL patient-care employees, and any non-patient-care employees who may have been exposed within the SAME time-frame
  • Daily surveillance of patients and staff continues
  • Community outreach to discharged and current patients and families
  • Limited visitors to patient-care areas (restriction lifted today)
  • Notifications to community health agencies and physicians
  • Consults and reports to Department of Health
  • Extensive hospital-wide and 1:1 employee education, patient and family education

Joy Bjornberg, interim CNE acknowledged hospital employees for their commitment during the arduous process, “We’ve seen the dedication of staff members to patients and the community while adhering to strict infection control protocols.”

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Further, Lisa Downing, Infection Prevention and Employee Health Director recognized the Hawai‘i Department of Health for their support of the hospital’s infection control protocols. “We appreciate the ongoing advice and support we’ve received from the DOH during this situation. Their partnership has been reassuring.”

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Concerned community members who would like to learn more about scabies can find
comprehensive information at the following websites:
http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease_listing/scabies/
https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/scabies/index.html

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