MMH staff members test positive for COVID-19

Three employees at Melissa Memorial Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19, reported CEO Cathy Harshbarger on Monday afternoon, Oct. 19.

She said the first positive case was discovered last Thursday, Oct. 15. The next day, all staff members were tested, revealing two more positive cases.

This is the first time employees have tested positive since the pandemic hit Colorado in the spring.

As of Monday, four staff members were in quarantine because they were showing symptoms and were considered presumed positive, and four others were in quarantine because immediate family members had COVID-19.

Those 11 people make up about 10% of the MMH staff, but Harshbarger said the facility was being resourceful to make sure everything still ran smoothly.

She is thankful for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that allows employees to still get paid while taking time off for reasons related to COVID-19.

“We use all the protective equipment we can,” said Harshbarger; however, she said that with positive cases increasing in the region, MMH employees are just as likely to get a virus as everybody else.

MMH will continue to perform temperature checks on employees every day in addition to asking questions about symptoms. They were also sent reminders about social distancing.

“We’ve taken it very seriously,” said Harshbarger.

She said the plan was to discontinue use of the main doors of the hospital, as was the case earlier in the pandemic. People must wear masks when in the building, and patients are asked to have only one visitor at a time.

Harshbarger said it’s a partnership — MMH’s priority is to protect people but the community must do its part as well.

The CEO has been monitoring the uptick of positive COVID-19 cases in the county so that MMH can be prepared with a plan if they need to treat more patients.

She noted that when she talked to health department officials, they indicated that they are no longer doing contact tracing and they have been backlogged in updating the number of positive cases.

Harshbarger encouraged community members who have COVID-19 symptoms to call their provider. MMH offers curbside testing, and those who are very ill can go to the emergency room. She noted that insurance should pay for the testing, and results from the rapid test are available in only 15 minutes.

In addition to COVID-19 cases, MMH recently reported the season’s first case of influenza B.

Holyoke Enterprise

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Holyoke CO 80734