UPDATD: PDH addressing challenges in wake of staffers testing positive for COVID

By Debra Moore

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UPDATED: PDH CEO JoDee Read clarified that 18 staff members have tested positive for COVID since the pandemic began; but 10 have recovered. There are currently eight active cases among staff members.

Original story: Staffing at Plumas District Hospital is day-by-day as 18 staff members have contracted the coronavirus and are currently quarantining. CEO JoDee Read said that the issue should subside in seven days as some of the infected individuals are able to return to work, and she expects the situation to be back to normal in 10 to 14 days.

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In the meantime available staff are stepping up and filling the positions so that patient care is not impacted. The clinics remain open as does the hospital and its emergency department, the obstetrics program, surgeries and other services. The positive cases were in hospital as well as clinic staff.

Read said that the hospital is focused on screening all of its employees and patients. “I think we’re doing all things right,” she said,  but added that contact tracing that many individuals has been difficult.  “We are certainly getting to the bottom of it,” she said.

As for positive patients, there is one currently hospitalized at Plumas District and that individual has been treated with Remdesivir. To date, Read said that two patients have been treated with Remdesivir (the drug that is believed to shorten the duration of stay for hospitalized individuals); but no one has received a therapeutic such as Regeneron or the monoclonal antibody therapy, bamlanivimab, that was used for two staffers at the hospital in Chester. That therapeutic is used soon after diagnosis to keep a patient from needing to be hospitalized.

Earlier today, Seneca Healthcare District announced that it had 20 positive staff members and 12 patients. It too is also working with contingency staffing, but as at Plumas District, the situation is expected to improve soon.

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Doug McCoy, the CEO of Eastern Plumas Health Care, said that his hospital has thus far avoided such outbreaks. “We have been fortunate to only have had a couple of staff impacted over the past month. We test all of our patient care and SNF staff weekly, and our infection prevention and clinical leaders have done a great job monitoring our compliance,” McCoy said.

Read said that she is encouraging all residents to be mindful of public health guidelines: wash hands, wear a mask and practice social distancing.