St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way. Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan

St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way. Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan

41 positive COVID-19 cases linked to January outbreak at St. Francis Hospital

No new cases found as of Feb. 15, hospital says.

The COVID-19 outbreak discovered on Jan. 26 at St. Francis Hospital has led to 41 cases in total.

A Feb. 8 update from Virginia Mason Franciscan, the hospital system that operates St. Francis in Federal Way, stated the hospital had found positive cases in 20 patients and 21 staff members linked to the initial outbreak.

As of Feb. 15, no new cases have been discovered, according to the hospital. The positive cases have been found in patients and staff on the first floor surgical unit and on the hospital’s third floor.

All patients involved in the outbreak initially tested negative upon admission to the hospital, according to Virginia Mason Franciscan.

Since discovering the outbreak, St. Francis began contact tracing and surveillance testing all individuals who may have been exposed or who had a direct exposure to the virus. To date, about 1,100 COVID-19 tests have been conducted.

As a precaution, all employees with a risk of exposure must be tested twice and have at least five days between tests.

The Federal Way hospital stopped admissions to the first floor surgical unit in late January, but has since resumed admissions. In an effort to limit staff interactions between infected patients, all COVID-19 patients are being cohorted on the third floor.

“When we test high numbers of employees during expanded surveillance testing efforts, we understand we may uncover positive, asymptomatic employees given the increasing prevalence of COVID-19 in the community,” the hospital said in an online statement.

As additional safety practices, St. Francis continues to assess potential reschedules for all currently scheduled inpatient procedures and has expanded surveillance testing for employees working across the hospital system, along with other cleaning and safety precautions.

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