Columbia Memorial Hospital is tied to 27 coronavirus cases, the state disclosed.
The virus cases, detailed by the Oregon Health Authority in a weekly report on workplace outbreaks released on Wednesday, date back to Nov. 27. The most recent onset was Jan. 14.
The health authority discloses outbreaks at businesses with 30 or more workers once five virus cases are reported.
Columbia Memorial administrators stressed that there is no active outbreak at the Astoria hospital and sought to assure patients that it is safe to attend appointments.
“This number (27) is a cumulative number of caregivers who have become ill due to COVID over almost two months,” Nancee Long, a Columbia Memorial spokeswoman, said in an email.
In response to questions from The Astorian, Long said five employees tested positive for the virus during the week of Nov. 27.
“This small cluster met OHA’s definition of an outbreak,” she said in an email. “CMH immediately communicated this information to Clatsop County Health Department. CMH then worked closely with the county health department to perform appropriate contact tracing.
“The remaining 22 cases have occurred sporadically over a two-month period of time and are not related to the original cluster. Through contact tracing, these 22 cases were determined to have been acquired outside of work. CMH appropriately quarantined those affected to protect both our caregivers and patients.
“Front-line CMH caregivers continue to be at the highest risk of exposure,” Long said. “CMH is routinely testing and caring for COVID positive patients. Through proper utilization of PPE (personal protective equipment) and screening procedures, we consider our prevalence of COVID-19 to be low.
“Caregiver and patient safety is paramount. We are proud of our caregiver’s diligence and attention to constantly changing procedures and risks. We will continue to be a space where sick people can come for help and take our dedication to heal seriously.”
The hospital is the region’s leading health care provider and one of the largest employers in the county. The 27 virus cases described by the state is among the largest workplace outbreaks in the county during the pandemic.
The health authority’s weekly report also detailed three recent virus cases at Astoria Middle School as two students and one staffer.
The Astoria School District disclosed the three virus cases during a school board meeting last week. Superintendent Craig Hoppes had declined to say at the time whether the positive cases were staff or students.