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Kona Community Hospital Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

July 13, 2020, 2:26 PM HST
* Updated July 14, 11:38 AM
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Kona Community Hospital registration entryway. PC: KCH

A Kona Community Hospital employee was positively diagnosed with COVID-19 on Friday and is currently in quarantine at home.

The case was identified after a standard screening was conducted when the employee called in sick, said Judy Donovan, spokesperson for KCH. The employee had one or more symptoms.

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

Donovan wouldn’t report on the number of staff members tested for the virus since Friday, indicating the information was protected by Human Resources and HIPPA. However, according to the press release, no additional employees have tested positive.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kona Community Hospital 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.

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Since Friday, 46 patients who came to the Emergency Department were tested. Since the breakout in March, the hospital has conducted 996 COVID-19 tests on patients. Of those, six were positive, three of which were in-patients.

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The Hawai‘i State Department of Health has been consulted in this case with the employee and supports the hospital’s care management, which includes precautions to protect patients and staff.

KCH continues to institute daily checks on staff temperature and symptoms as well as requiring employees who are sick or become symptomatic during work to 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,” stated Infection Prevention and Employee Health Director, Lisa Downing. “The health and safety of our staff and patients is our utmost priority.”

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