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Ten Northern Light Inland Hospital staff members quarantined after COVID-19 exposure; two have tested positive

Gavin Ducker, MD, Inland Hospital's senior physician executive, said hospital staff came into direct and indirect contact with a person that has tested positive

WATERVILLE, Maine — EDITOR'S NOTE: In the video above, NEWS CENTER Maine spoke to Northern Light Inland Hospital management about the important role staff plays in keeping the hospital safe. 

According to Northern Light Inland Hospital officials in Waterville, two of ten staff members quarantined have tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus

Dr. Gavin Ducker said ten Northern Light Inland Hospital staff workers were quarantined Friday after having direct or indirect exposure to a hospital patient who also tested positive for COVID-19. 

Dr. Ducker said in a statement posted to the hospital website, "Ten staff members have been quarantined after direct and indirect exposure to our hospitalized COVID patient last week. (Direct exposure means they had prolonged face-to-face contact with the patient. Indirect exposure means they may have had prolonged exposure to the person who was face-to-face with the patient.) We just received results that of those ten, two employees have tested positive for COVID-19. The two employees are not care providers and, more importantly, had social contact with the patient prior to admission and as visitors in the hospital before the patient's COVID diagnosis. The two employees are isolating at home."

Ducker stressed patients at Inland Hospital are safe.

"Safety remains our top priority," said Dr. Ducker. "We have one COVID patient here now and that patient is being cared for consistent with Maine CDC guidelines. We are working closely with the Maine CDC regarding staff exposures and they are completely satisfied that other patients at Inland have not been put at risk."

NEWS CENTER Maine spoke to management at the hospital about the pivotal role staff members play in keeping the hospital safe

Sara Donovan is the Registered Infection Preventionist Nurse at Northern Light Inland Hospital.

“I make sure patients are on the proper precautions and the area is clean and sanitary," Donovan said.

Every day, Donovan works with the unsung heroes of the hospital, Environmental Service Technicians commonly known as housekeepers.

“They are heroes. They seem to be in the background but they’re doing something that is super important.”  

Kim Alexander spends her days cleaning and disinfecting every door handle, light switch, and any room used in the hospital. 

“My role is very important here at Inland to keep the families, visitors, community safe," Alexander said.

Marjorie Dodge is an Environmental Service Technician at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

“I take great pride in my job and I think a lot of us housekeepers feel the same way," Dodge said. “Every day we come to work worried, are we going to take this virus home?”

Ducker says that the two staff members that tested positive had prior social contact with the patient before they were admitted or diagnosed. Ducker said the other staff members had direct or indirect contact with the two staff members that later tested positive for COVID-19. 

Ducker stressed COVID-19 is still very much present in our communities. He told Mainers there is still much to learn about the coronavirus. 

"The most important assistance members of our communities can provide is to follow the Maine CDC guidelines: always wear a mask/face covering around other people, keep a six-foot distance between yourself and others, sanitize your hands often, and get a flu shot."

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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