VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) - Officials with PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center and with Clark County Public Health say they're working to determine what started a cluster of COVID-19 cases at the hospital so that they can prevent it from happening again.
Dr. Lawrence Neville, the Chief Medical Officer with PeaceHealth Columbia Network, says the first patients tested positive on their second COVID-19 test on July 10. He says all patients are tested when they're admitted to the hospital, then they're tested again about five days later.
In total, Dr. Neville says 10 patients and four employees at PeaceHealth Southwest tested positive for the virus. The hospital reported five of the 14 are fully vaccinated.
Dr. Neville says those who are vaccinated are not showing symptoms, while those who are not vaccinated are showing symptoms. He says the symptoms range from very, very mild to a few who are having more severe symptoms. At this time, he says no one is requiring ICU level care.
Now that the hospital has isolated the cluster, they're trying to figure out how it happened. Catherine Kroll, PeaceHealth System Director of Infection Prevention says that's all part of the investigation underway.
"There are three sources that could have happened here. The first is a visitor could have brought this in and transmitted it to patients and health care workers in our facility; the second is that a patient could have come in from the community incubating the virus so they did not test positive when they were admitted and subsequently became positive and transmission occurred within the hospital that way; and the third is that a health care worker could have unknowingly come to work while positive," Kroll said.
All of the patients with COVID-19 are connected to the same floor of the hospital. Kroll says all patients at risk have been contacted - there are about 44 in total.
Dr. Alan Melnick with Clark County Public Health says this is a reminder that the pandemic is still with us, and says it shows how important and effective the vaccine is. Health officials say the patients are being tested for any COVID-19 variant, including the Delta variant.