CHI Mercy Medical Center (copy)

CHI Mercy Medical Center in 2019.

For the second time in two months, the Oregon Health Authority reported a COVID-19 workplace outbreak at CHI Mercy Medical Center.

The state said the latest investigation began on Friday after five cases were reported.

Four hospital employees tested positive and one is considered a presumptive positive, according to the hospital’s Facebook page.

“Please note, that no patients were exposed to COVID due to Mercy staff diligently following our PPE masking protocol,” the post read. “We, as always, prioritize the safety of both our patients and our staff.

“Unfortunately, the Oregon Health Authority has declared this a worksite outbreak even though community exposures and travel were significant contributors in these staff becoming positive for COVID-19.”

It was the second time the hospital appeared on the workplace outbreak list after the OHA listed the hospital as having 10 active cases in early August.

Mercy joins the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Health Care System and the Roseburg Forest Products plant in Riddle as active workplace outbreaks in Douglas County, according to the OHA release. The Roseburg VA earlier this week denied having an outbreak. According to the federal VA website it has reported two staff members with COVID-19 and five patients, none of whom were inpatients.

According to the OHA, case counts include all persons linked to a possible outbreak, including direct positive test results, family members and other close contacts. A workplace outbreak is reported by the state when a business has five or more cases — both confirmed and presumptive — and includes all persons linked to the outbreak, which may include household members and other close contacts. Even those who test negative for the virus but were once considered presumptive continue to count toward the workplace’s total case number until a 28-day period has passed without a new case.

“Mercy will continue to work collaboratively with the OHA and Douglas Public Health Network on COVID testing and reporting,” the hospital posted. “Mercy also remains committed to ensuring that our hospital, as the sole community healthcare organization offering inpatient services to patients diagnosed with COVID-19, can continue to meet the hospitalization needs of all of our community members.

“We are committed to ensuring the safety of our community members and staff.”

Hospital officials declined to comment further and instead referred reporters to the county government and the Douglas Public Health Network.

County COVID-19 spike continuesThe Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team reported six new cases on Wednesday.

Total case numbers have risen from 229 on Saturday to 246 by Wednesday.

“As September comes to an end, we sadly mark the month with a surge in cases. This should be very concerning to everyone,” the Response Team said in a press release.

The team said most recent cases have been attributed to travel or to social gatherings where people aren’t taking precautions like keeping their distance from each other and wearing masks.

Cases have been linked to birthday parties, weddings, funerals, prayer groups, play dates, visiting family members and back–to-school events.

“Again, we ask that you take a moment and revisit how you are socializing and please protect yourself and your loved ones from the spread of this virus. Please stay safe and remember to be kind to others,” the press release said.

Three Douglas County residents are currently hospitalized with the disease, while 36 county residents are being supported in isolation.

Four Douglas County residents have died from COVID-19.

Douglas County Public Health Officer Bob Dannenhoffer is also urging county residents, especially seniors or those with weak immune systems, to vaccinate against the flu.

“This year, COVID-19 will be circulating and the co-existence of COVID and flu will make this a very difficult year. We do not yet have a vaccine for COVID-19 but do have a good vaccine for the flu. So, the very best thing you can do to protect yourself and others in the community is to get a flu shot,” he said.

Managing Editor Ian Campbell contributed to this report.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(14) comments

Buligajo

Sorry about the spelling and auto correct, this was done on the phone With a little box to try and proofread.

Buligajo

Mworden,

I started reading Mikes post and found them informative, because I’m a numbers guy. I let it go when he would post things about commissioners (because I do not care for them). But then it was cut and paste and it was obvious he had an ace to grind, same statements over and over. Calling them liars (probably true about some things), but to put the 4-deaths on them without any factual information, is not ok. I do believe some of Mines ignorance regarding this situation is do to not knowing how the system works, reporting times, when information is released by other agencies, and not anybody trying to hide or lie about it. I would hope the CC sent doing that but I have no proof. I do know Dr. D as he took care of my kids for years, I believe him to be a trustworthy and a person who would not delay or hide the facts for the CC or anybody else. Again my opinion, I could be wrong. Do I will stop posting about mike when he stops assuming things about people and organizations. When I say he is lying, it is because it is in his own writings. I know the CC have KNOWN about this for probably 2-weeks. A lie, if he can produce documentation the the knew please do and I will quit posting. You can tell when he doesn’t know and is just talking by the words he uses. When he has facts and numbers (which army always accurate, but close) he states them plainly. When he is trying to bad mouth people he uses words like probably, likely and maybe. Have a great weekend, let’s hope DC rates slow down to a stop.

mworden

Thank you, Buligajo. I also have a high opinion of Dr. Dannenhoffer and in my mind I separate out what the commissioners do from what the medical team does. I think you've made some really good points here about the importance of knowing how the system works and how/why reporting times work.

DPHN is also charged with emergency preparedness. In the middle of this pandemic we had devastating wildfires. DPHN was working on both with no increase in staff, so if things lag I'm willing to cut them some slack. We've got big problems here. I don't think it has anything to do with what any commissioner might want.

How ever you and Mike decide to work out your disagreements is between you two. Talking about it, even when disagreeing, might do the trick. I value what you have to say and what Mike has to say. I want to hear what both of you are thinking and feeling. That's hard to do if anger gets the upper hand. Again, thank you, for taking the time to respond. It means a lot.

Buligajo

Well I don’t think I called him any names, I am just tired of the assuming he does. If you have facts that people knew about this stuff 2-weeks ago then share that info. I checked with my brother he had results in 45 minutes at the hospital. If you go to an urgent care it takes 2-weeks. Hopes this clarifies.

mworden

Buligajo, thank you for replying and clarifying. That is important information. About the other, saying several times that some is lying is about a millimeter from saying they're a liar and I personally consider that name-calling.

mworden

I posted that before I was finished. I meant to say, I don't think that you're intending to name-call or attack. To me, you seem frustrated by Mike's posts. Mike seems really frustrated by the actions of the commissioners. I barely paid attention to Mike's posts until he was doxed and people showed up saying he was lying when he was giving some accurate info, plus some opinions. After that I began reading him to see what the deal was. I honestly don't understand what's going on here. I don't know why Mike got under official skin so much that he was doxed and why people came on to solely criticize him. I do understand why it escalated. One person pushing another's buttons because of opinions in opposite directions and some personal attacks. I actually have a hot temper myself. I acknowledge it, spend some time thinking about it and let it go. My goal here is to get to know and understand the thoughts and feelings of my fellow Douglas County residents. I live here by choice, I love it here. I've met many people who hold views opposite of my own. And most of them are fine people. I want to get to know that fine side of people. I've seen a lot of anger in Douglas County and, in my experience, if we don't transform that anger we end up transmitting it all around us. There are people posting here in anger, maybe even disgust and mockery. I've done it. I'm pretty sure that if we can get beyond that we're going to see some intelligence and depth of character. That's what I'm hoping for. When I can understand where a person is coming from I can feel compassion for their point of view, even when it disagrees with all I believe in. Maybe we can learn from each other. I'm just saying ... we could try,

Patriciaclair

Mike, whoever you are. Please don't let critics discourage you from posting your information. I find your posts more informative than the "official" information that is being released locally. With most of your posts you provide a link to back up your information. I don't know who you are, but I have a hunch you are an insider of some sort and know what you're talking about. Keep it up.

mworden

[thumbup]

Buligajo

Mikey, Mikey, Mikey

You say Our County Commissioners and Mercy have KNOWN about this new outbreak at Mercy for probably two weeks. How do you know they have known? Why wouldn’t you put the exact timeline instead of using Probably two weeks. If you do indeed have facts you should be able to narrow that down to a specific day or date. Like they knew last Thursday at 10 am. Me thinks you make things up for the sake of delivering misinformation. Sad sad sad, keep to the facts please. Oh and how I know you are lying, my brother was tested over 2-months ago at Mercy and had test results back in 90-minutes. Mercy has the ability to test and have results almost immediately. They have to because before any surgery’s the patient gets tested the same day as the procedure. Mikey, Mikey Mikey just follow the facts dude you are spreading fear and hatred. Since this terrible disease is on the rise I’m sure you will spread your lies like the virus. Good thing lying isn’t contagious like the virus, you would have us all infected. Have a great day Mikey!! No need to apologize on this one, we know you make mistakes.

mworden

[thumbdown] Buligajo, if you have good info about the current turn around time on tests I certainly want to hear it. Do all tests turn around in 90 minutes or only the ones at Mercy and how soon will the fast tests be available to everyone? This is important info. But I'm giving you a [thumbdown] for engaging in name calling, attempted character assassination and ad hom attacks while you presented otherwise great info. If you have valid info, I am eager to hear it, but I really don't understand why you are so upset by one poster in the N-R comment section. I don't appreciate efforts to shut him (or anyone) down with sarcasm, shaming and name-calling. Please share your info, thoughts and feelings with us. I want to hear what my fellow Douglas County residents are all about. I am pretty sure that most people here are decent folks. Yes, even the ones I disagree with. Unfortunately, the anonymity of screen names can bring the worst out in people. We can do better. We'll all make mistakes, but the vast majority of people here are decent and intelligent. Let's show it.

Mike

Our County Commissioners and Mercy have KNOWN about this new outbreak at Mercy for probably two weeks and didn’t warn the public. We only now found out about it because the Oregon Health Authority reported it. According to the article, 5 employees tested positive by September 25. Remember, it takes 1 – 2 weeks to receive the test results after people starts exhibiting symptoms. So, our County Commissioners and Mercy have known employees were exhibiting symptoms since Mid-September and didn’t warn the public.

Mike

Mercy CHI-Mercy Medical Center Communications Director Kathleen Nickel was interviewed by the News-Review on September 24 and chose to NOT communicate Mercy was undergoing another workplace outbreak.

https://www.nrtoday.com/business/chi-mercy-medical-center-answers-questions-about-hospital-operations-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/article_dd9be794-d47e-50f3-acc2-ed2918bdd77e.html

Mike

What a bunch of hypocrites. Our County Commissioners publicly tell everyone to wear a mask but then hold anti-mask rallies and commend people for NOT wearing a mask.

The Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team is led by our County Commissioners. They blame people who “aren't taking precautions like keeping their distance from each other and wearing masks.” Yet maskless County Commission Chairman Chris Boice led an anti-mask rally at the county courthouse and can be heard saying in a recent radio interview (below link), “Some folks don’t want to wear a mask…I COMMEND a lot of those folks.”

https://kqennewsradio.com/wp-content/uploads/IDC-8-26-20.mp3

Mike

Why wasn't Umpqua Valley Nursing Center also identified in your article as an outbreak? The Oregon Health Authority has listed it as an outbreak both this week and last week in their weekly report as per the attached link.

https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DISEASESCONDITIONS/DISEASESAZ/Emerging%20Respitory%20Infections/COVID-19-Weekly-Report-2020-09-30-FINAL.pdf

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