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Bremerton hospital gives few details on COVID-19 outbreak; number of cases not specified

Public health officials and officials at a Bremerton hospital still haven’t reported the extent of a COVID-19 outbreak among hospital patients and staff that was initially described as involving more than 30 cases.  Late Friday afternoon, officials announced…

Public health officials and officials at a Bremerton hospital still haven’t reported the extent of a COVID-19 outbreak among hospital patients and staff that was initially described as involving more than 30 cases.

Late Friday afternoon, officials announced an outbreak of “more than 30 cases” at St. Michael Medical Center, formerly known as Harrison Medical Center, in a joint statement by Kitsap Public Health District and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH).

The statement said the outbreak had struck “multiple” units at the 260-bed hospital, and that patients who had been discharged from those units had been notified.

But by Saturday night, neither St. Michael nor the two health agencies would give a more precise figure for the number of cases in the outbreak, and one health official indicated that investigators were still trying to determine the outbreak’s scale.

“We did not release a specific case number Friday because reports were still coming in from the hospital on Friday afternoon and case investigations were ongoing,” said Tad Sooter, spokesperson for Kitsap Public Health District. “The situation has been changing rapidly.”

Tacoma-based CHI Franciscan, St. Michael’s parent company, was less forthcoming. “Public health authorities are tracking COVID-19 infections and sharing information on a cadence and geographic level appropriate for the community while respecting patient privacy,” said Cary Evans, CHI Franciscan’s vice president for communications and government affairs, in a statement Saturday evening. “Please refer…

Seattle Times Business Reporter

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