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Dozens of Hillsboro hospital employees told to stay home after potential coronavirus contact

The first Oregon patient to test positive for the virus was treated at Westside Medical Center.

HILLSBORO, Ore — Dozens of Kaiser employees at Kaiser Permanente’s Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro have been told to stay home in isolation for 14 days after they may have been in contact with a patient who tested positive for coronavirus.

In a statement released Monday, Kaiser said employees, including physicians and nurses, met the criteria for contact with COVID-19. The first Oregon patient to test positive for the virus was treated at Westside Medical Center.

Kaiser spokesman Michael Foley said the employees staying home are on paid furlough. They are following the CDC’s guidelines.

The hospital is changing work schedules and has the ability to bring in additional staff, if needed.

The full statement from Kaiser is below.

The safety of patients and staff is our top priority.

We carefully follow the evidence-based guidelines developed by regional public health and the CDC to contain and prevent the spread of infectious disease.

Per current CDC guidelines, people who have had contact with COVID-19 patients are asked to maintain self-isolation at home for 14 days. Some of our staff, including nurses and physicians, met the criteria for contact and are on furlough. The number of furloughed staff changed daily, as we began with an abundance of caution and followed with a more detailed investigation into whether contact occurred.

We have adjusted for furloughs by shifting work schedules, and appreciate the flexibility and support of our team members. We also have the option of bringing in additional staff on contract, as we regularly conduct contingency planning for events, such as snowstorms, that could impact staff resources.

We are also working with OHA and others to implement procedures and protocols that will reduce staff impacts should we begin treating additional patients.

For further details on protocols, we would refer you to OHA.

Mary E. Giswold, MD, FACS
Associate Medical Director, Hospital and Post-Acute Care
Permanente Medicine
Northwest Permanente, PC

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To put the coronavirus numbers in context, millions of Americans get the flu every single year and there are thousands of flu deaths annually. Since October 2019, the CDC estimates around 32 million Americans have gotten the flu. That’s one in every 10 Americans. Since the coronavirus outbreak began late last year, there have been around 80,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in China. That means those cases account for just around .0056% of China's population.

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