The Polk County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) and St. Luke’s Hospital have been working together to prepare for the potential for positive COVID-19 inpatient cases to develop at the hospital. Through their collaborative effort, and with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), positive cases have remained at a minimum to-date.
“At this time, we can report that St. Luke’s Hospital has two positive COVID-19 inpatients. Our goal is to keep the virus contained, maintain patient and staff safety, and to continue following infection prevention procedures such as hand washing, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, disinfecting the environment, and wearing face masks for all staff, providers and patients at the facility,” said Dr. Thomas Dashiell, Chief of Medicine.
“We have anticipated the eventual emergence of COVID-19 positive patients at St. Luke’s and are well-prepared to manage these cases as safely and effectively as possible. To protect patient privacy, no other details will be provided regarding these specific patients.”
“Families of the two positive patients have been contacted. As a precautionary measure, teammates and patients are being tested to help lessen the potential for additional community spread,” Polk County Health and Human Services Director Joshua Kennedy said. “The physicians, nurses, caregivers and staff at St. Luke’s continue to take appropriate precautions to protect all patients and staff.”
“The St. Luke’s hospital medical team is trained to safely care for any potential COVID-19 patient while taking precautions to avoid exposures to staff and other patients,” said Chief Nursing Officer Kathy Hefner. “The hospital has three isolation rooms with negative pressure which is the best practice for disease prevention. We also have HEPA filters to convert a single room into an isolation room should the negative pressure rooms be filled, and we have tested and validated the ability to isolate a portion of one of the hospital wings to create an additional temporary care area if needed.”
St. Luke’s Hospital is a critical access hospital, licensed to operate 25 acute care beds and fully accredited by The Joint Commission. It anchors a healthcare network that includes a 24-hour physician-staffed emergency department and specialized medical and surgical services and employs a staff of more than 300 healthcare professionals.