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Community HealthCare System associate tests positive for COVID-19

A Community HealthCare System associate has tested positive for COVID-19. The associate is a nurse who works at St. Marys Community Hospital.

According to CEO Todd Willert, the hospital was informed yesterday. CHCS has already notified patients who received care from the nurse as well as associates who worked in close proximity to the nurse for longer than 15 minutes, per Kansas Department of Health and Environment guidelines.

“We know that because of our universal mask and eye protection policy for our staff and the other safety and cleaning measures we have adopted, the risk of exposing others is quite low, but we wanted to make sure all who could be affected are informed,” Willert said.

“All of our providers, nurses, and other staff are taking precautions to protect themselves and others, and they are committed to safeguarding our communities,” Willert said.

How or when the nurse was exposed to COVID-19 is unclear. Cases of COVID-19 have been growing in the area in recent weeks.

“Our thoughts are with all of our associates who are working on the front line to provide the best possible care, but especially with the one we know is sick now. We hope recovery is full and swift,” Willert said.

Community HealthCare System continues to screen all patients and visitors to all facilities. Associates are screened daily before reporting to work according to guidelines from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Those who do not pass the screening questions are asked not to report to work, and procedures are in place to monitor employees who become ill or who test positive for COVID-19.

Proper social distancing, hand hygiene, and wearing a mask in public remain the best defense against the spread of COVID-19. Recognizing symptoms is also important. Anyone with a fever, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea, loss of sense of smell and taste, and/or headache, or who suspects exposure to COVID-19, should contact a medical provider or one of our clinics for the best way to proceed with care.

Chief Nursing Officer Mindy Olberding said CHCS staff members are trained to follow all protocols to minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19.

“We’re proud of our staff for their diligence in keeping everyone as safe as possible,” Olberding said. “COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon, but we’ll keep doing our part to provide excellent care.”


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