COVID cases skyrocket; another hospital outbreak

4 patients, 2 employees test positive

On Tuesday, CHI Franciscan announced they were working with the Kitsap Public Health District to investigate 6 cases of COVID-19 at St. Michael Medical Center in Bremerton.

A news release says as of Nov. 9, 4 patients and 2 employees have tested positive in the 3 West unit. Contact tracing is underway to identify the root of possible transmission and connections between cases.

On Nov. 3, hospital staff discovered a patient who tested positive, who had previously tested negative, the release states. The following day, an additional patient tested positive, prompting immediate actions to notify and test all staff and patients in the unit. Testing efforts found:

  • 2 asymptomatic patients
  • 2 of the patients who have tested positive were roommates
  • 2 positive employees who had worked with at least one of the positive patients
  • 3 staff members positive for community-acquired COVID-19
  • An additional 280 employee tests have come back negative

All patients with positive results have been moved to the COVID unit and deep cleanings of their rooms have been completed, the release says. All St. Michael Medical Center employees were notified of the initial cases on Nov. 4.

Also Tuesday, KPHD confirmed another high number of 25 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the countywide total of positive tests to 1,818 since March.

South Kitsap and Bremerton each had 7 cases, North Kitsap 4 and Bainbridge Island 2.

Based on contact tracing work, the district believes the spread among families and households was a key driver of recent case increases. To prevent spreading it is important for all members of a household to stay home and avoid contact with others if any member of their household has symptoms.

Over the past two weeks, Kitsap County’s positive case rate per 100,000 residents is 107.3, or 4.7 percent, meaning the county is now at a “high level” of COVID-19 activity, per state guidelines. The “high level” is categorized by a positive case rate above 75 over the previous 14 days.

Cases have increased across all age ranges, but during a four-week period ending Oct. 31, the rate of new cases reported among children 18 and younger jumped to its highest level to date. The median age of positive cases reported among children was 12.

Public health officials are urging all residents to take steps to fight the spread of COVID as case rates continue to spike ahead of the holiday season. Kitsap has had 148 cases over the past five days, the highest number since the pandemic hit in March.

“We truly appreciate every Kitsap resident who has taken this disease seriously and is working hard to protect the health of our community,” Kitsap Public Health District Health Officer Dr. Gib Morrow said. “With COVID-19 spreading across our region, we need to take extra care of each other this season by keeping indoor gatherings to a minimum, wearing masks and staying at least six feet from others.”

A total of 107 cases are considered “active” by the district, meaning they are “confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases … participating in daily monitoring.” Another 285 were categorized as “active contacts” or individuals determined to be close contacts of a lab-confirmed case and are participating in daily monitoring.

A total of 22 COVID-19 related deaths have been confirmed since March, nine of which came in October. All of the fatalities have been from individuals with underlying health conditions.

The total number of negative tests is 56,159 since March.

Of the 1,818 total cases, 79 have been reported on Bainbridge Island, 498 in Bremerton, 473 in Central Kitsap, 291 in North Kitsap and 477 in South Kitsap.