More than 30 employees and patients of St. Michael Medical Center in Bremerton have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in an outbreak that has affected multiple units of the hospital, health officials said Friday.
The first case of COVID-19 at the Kitsap County hospital — formerly known as Harrison Medical Center — was reported last week, according to a joint statement from the Kitsap Public Health District and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). Neither the health departments nor CHI Franciscan, the hospital’s parent company, specified which units of the 260-bed hospital had reported cases, but said patients who were discharged from those areas had been notified of the outbreak.
St. Michael workers had previously criticized CHI Franciscan for not providing adequate personal protective equipment, the Kitsap Sun reported in July. Hospital staff said they had to reuse N95 face masks and patch face shields with tape. A CHI Franciscan spokesperson told the newspaper that the network has provided its hospitals necessary supplies.
St. Michael is restricting visitors for most patients, the hospital said in an update posted on its website. Exceptions include one visitor at a time for end-of-life situations, one support person for laboring mothers, one parent for minors or special-case infants, caregivers for incapacitated patients, people with legal authority or responsibility for care, and one visitor for patients in the emergency services department.
All visitors are screened for COVID-19 symptoms and asked to sanitize their hands, and required to wear a mask inside the building.
At other hospitals in the CHI Franciscan system, each patient is allowed one visitor per day. Children under 12 are not allowed in any of the network hospitals.
There have been 893 COVID-19 cases, including eight deaths, reported in Kitsap County, according to DOH. A fourth of those cases have been reported since Aug. 1.