Statement regarding novel coronavirus, Covid-19

Statement regarding novel coronavirus, Covid-19

Statement on behalf of Roberta Luskin-Hawk, M.D., Chief Executive
2/20/20 at 10 p.m.

On February 16, two patients were evaluated at St. Joseph Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) for symptoms of a viral illness following travel which put them at risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As referenced in the Humboldt County Department of Health (DHHS) press release released yesterday, DHHS has received confirmation from the California Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of one case of COVID-19.

After a thorough investigation, at this time, we have no evidence that any patients were exposed during the visit. There was no close or prolonged contact with anyone in the Emergency Department. We followed established protocols from the moment the patients arrived. They were brought straight to a special isolation room that has negative pressure to prevent spread of the virus. Both patients were treated and released the same day, then immediately placed in home quarantine by the Humboldt County Department of Public Health. Per the press release issued by the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services Public Health (DHHS) they continue to be under home quarantine.

We worked closely with the CDC and Humboldt County Public Health. The caregivers wore personal protective equipment and followed precautions standard to contact and airborne illness that they have been trained on. Our employees’ exemplary compliance with our infection prevention protocols ensured the safety and well-being of their colleagues, patients and visitors.

St. Joseph Hospital and Redwood Memorial Hospital are equipped to handle this virus. Our caregivers have received training, have practiced for these scenarios and are well-prepared. The Caregiver Health department has contacted the small number of staff who may have come in contact with the patient.

The risk is very low for exposure to Covid-19 in the US at this time. More information on prevention and treatment of the coronavirus can be obtained on the CDC website or by contacting Humboldt County Public Health. For details, visit the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services website.