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Kitsap Public Health activates multi-agency response to control COVID-19 outbreak at hospital

Following an outbreak of COVID-19 at St. Michael Medical Center, public health officials issued a set of health requests and recommendations to support the hospital.

BREMERTON, Wash. — Kitsap Public Health officials announced additional actions they hope will control the COVID-19 outbreak at St. Michael Medical Center in Bremerton.

Officials issued new public health requests Wednesday to improve communication with the public and coordination with the health department. Additionally, they are asking to test all 2,500 of the medical center's Kitsap County employees, and develop an incident command structure to coordinate the outbreak response.

“The outbreak at St. Michael is hugely concerning for our community and all of us at Kitsap Public Health. We are marshaling every resource at our disposal to prevent additional illness and protect public health,” Kitsap Public Health District Health Officer Dr. Gib Morrow said. “In addition to our contact tracing work, we have activated and are coordinating a comprehensive, multi-agency response to identify the full extent of the outbreak and control its spread. We are confident that continued, aggressive action will successfully resolve this situation and help prevent future cases.” 

The COVID-19 outbreak at St. Michael was identified mid-August. As of Aug. 25, there were 45 confirmed cases connected to the outbreak. Of those 45, 30 staff and 15 patients at St. Michael Medical Center in Bremerton were infected with COVID-19. 

Dr. Morrow previously said the health district expects the number of cases to rise as St. Michael continues to test all staff and patients.

The additional actions by the health department were released a day after staff and the union representing hospital workers voiced concerns over the hospital's response to the outbreak and issued a list of demands, including: 

  • Rapid COVID-19 tests and results
  • Eight-hour notification of potential exposure
  • Paid leave while awaiting test results
  • Consistent staffing levels
  • Adequate personal protective equipment for all workers