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Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center (HRRMC) is focusing on additional precautions since the COVID-19 virus was detected in two employees and one patient. Based on its handling of the situation, it resumed all services effective Oct. 12.

Allison Gergley Marketing and Public Relations Director for HRRMC said since the recent positive cases, testing has been made available for any staff member who wants to be tested.

“Over the weekend, we tested 22 employees (testing dates depend on date of last exposure, plus seven days) with the nasal swab diagnostic test that is able to detect the virus, and all 22 employees tested thus far have been negative,” she said.  “We will continue to test staff as they enter into the appropriate exposure window this week, which will conclude on Thursday.”

One patient (presumably a 77-year-old man from the north county as reflected in the Chaffee County Public Health Department (CCPH) Situational Report), is hospitalized with COVID-19. Gergley said that patient is currently in isolation in a negative pressure room and is being attended to by the clinical staff in appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).”

“CCPH together with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) partners are assisting with the identification of the source and contact tracing in this case,” Gergley stated.

Asked about precautionary procedures being reviewed since the infections were revealed, Gergley said the hospital has a comprehensive plan to address any outbreak and maintain staffing numbers based on inpatient capacity.

“Our Infection Prevention team immediately took action to isolate and quarantine staff and patients per the guidance of the CDC and CDPHE. As an added precaution, this included suspension of visitation and a pause on certain elective procedures until more information and guidance was available,” said Gergley. “All services have been re-established effective Oct. 12. Our Quality Manager is also conducting PPE audits daily in the appropriate clinical departments, and all clinical staff are now also required to wear PPE-based eyewear in addition to an N95 mask when providing patient care. We are prepared to accommodate a surge of patients should we have the need,” she added.

Regarding personal protective equipment for staff, which has resurfaced as a concern for some healthcare facilities around the country, Gergley said HRRMC has contracted with a supplier (Cardinal Health, a global healthcare, and products company based in Ohio) to ensure their supply chain remains reliable.

“We have consistently exceeded the federal requirement to have a minimum of two-weeks’ worth of PPE supplies on hand at all times. This includes masks, gowns, gloves, eyewear, caps, etc. which our Materials department tracks daily. We have ongoing fit-testing occurring for clinical staff based on the various types of N95 masks vetted and purchased by the Materials department,” Gergley stated.