McKenzie-Willamette employee tests positive; 27 under surveillance

A hospital spokesperson said the employee tested positive after a trip to Mexico.

Posted: Aug 14, 2020 12:51 PM
Updated: Aug 14, 2020 10:58 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- A total of 27 employees at McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center are under "surveillance" on Friday after another staffer tested positive for COVID-19.

According to hospital spokesperson and marketing director Jana Waterman, the employee tested positive after a trip to Mexico. Waterman could not say how the other 27 people came into contact with her, but a source with knowledge of the situation says the infected staffer worked at least one shift in the emergency room after her return from Mexico.

“We are testing the people she came in contact with,” said Waterman. “It’s a precautionary measure. No one is showing any signs or symptoms."

Oregon Nurses Association communications manager Kevin Mealy said safety is always the highest priority in the health care industry.

"What I've seen from nurses throughout this pandemic is an extreme amount of caution. Both in their workplace and in their personal lives in order to protect themselves and their community,” Mealy said. “Nurses know how infectious and deadly this virus has been. They've taken extraordinary steps to keep themselves, their families and their patients safe."

It is not known if the staffer who tested positive for COVID-19 is a nurse. Mealy also said that ONA signed a contract that will provide health care workers at the McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center a two-week sick leave if employees contract COVID-19 on the job. That’s something that was not put into place until yesterday.

KEZI 9 News will have updates as the story develops.

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