Traveling Physician, Nurse Meant For KCH Test Positive For Coronavirus

August 5, 2020, 6:09 PM HST (Updated August 5, 2020, 6:09 PM)
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Two traveling healthcare professionals meant for employment at Kona Community Hospital (KCH) have tested positive for coronavirus.

KCH confirmed that both traveling employees were positively diagnosed prior to beginning work in the hospital and are now quarantined at home. Test results for both have been reported to the Hawai‘i Department of Health.

The hospital was forced to conduct system-wide testing after three employees tested positive for COVID-19 last month.

The two employees, a locum physician and a nurse traveler, tested positive during mandatory pre-employment testing prior to beginning work at the hospital. Both were asymptomatic and were immediately sent home to quarantine. Neither employee entered the hospital or clinical areas at any time during the pre-employment process.

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The hospital’s COVID-19 emergency management plan includes a robust pre-employment testing policy, according to a KCH press release. Protocols require all employees incoming from anywhere out of state must receive a negative COVID test result prior to beginning work in the hospital.

“Our policy to test all incoming traveling employees in advance of working at KCH helps prevent potential exposures within the hospital.” said Interim Chief Nurse Officer Stephanie Irwin, RN, MSN. “We will continue to evaluate our processes to align with the most current scientific data from the Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Additionally, Kona Community Hospital continues daily temperature checks and monitoring of all staff for signs and symptoms of the virus, providing testing when appropriate, the release said.

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