Bremerton hospital sees another coronavirus outbreak

Another COVID-19 outbreak has been reported at St. Michael Medical Center in Bremerton, where at least six people have been infected since early November.

CHI Franciscan, the hospital system that owns St. Michael, announced Tuesday that four patients and two employees have been infected to date, the Kitsap Sun reported.

The outbreak has been linked to a patient who first tested negative and then tested positive on Nov. 3, hospital officials said. A patient who tested positive the next day prompted St. Michael to test all staff and patients on the affected unit.

Those testing efforts found the virus had spread to two additional patients who were asymptomatic and two employees on the unit who had worked with at least one of the positive patients, CHI Franciscan officials said in an online update.

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Three other staff members have also tested positive, but the hospital said their cases were linked to community transmission. An additional 280 employee tests have come back negative, according to the hospital.

This the second COVID-19 outbreak at St. Michael’s Bremerton hospital. In August, 73 people at the hospital tested positive and three patients died in what appeared to be the largest outbreak at any general hospital in the Puget Sound region.

The Kitsap Public Health District declared an outbreak on Nov. 9 over the latest infections, according to the hospital.

“We are committed to following all CDC and public health guidelines at St. Michael Medical Center, and immediately addressing any cases as they arise,” Cary Evans, CHI Franciscan’s vice president for communications and government affairs, said. “However, we recognize that hospitals and health care workers are at risk in the community especially as cases increase.”