OSAWATOMIE — Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) has reported that a staff member at Osawatomie State Hospital (OSH) has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19).
In making the announcement Monday, June 22, Department Secretary Laura Howard said it is the first COVID-19 positive case at OSH in either residents or staff.
To protect the identity of staff and residents at the hospital, no further information will be released, the department said in a news release.
On Friday, June 19, an employee at OSH reported a positive test result to the hospital’s infection control nurse, according to the KDADS news release. In coordination with the Miami County Health Department, all 11 residents on the unit who were in close contact with the positive employee will be tested as a priority, according to the release.
KDADS said a testing strategy that goes beyond those working or living on the unit is currently being discussed and several steps have been taken to further maximize safety precautions already in place to minimize risk of further exposure:
- Any employee with direct, close contact with the positive employee has been contacted and begun a 14-day quarantine as instructed by the Miami County Health Department.
- Any patients directly exposed to the positive employee are strongly encouraged to isolate in their room and wear a face mask anytime they leave their room. Patients on the unit where the employee worked will remain on the unit and are being closely monitored for any change in status. COVID-19 testing will be implemented at the appropriate time according to time of exposure.
- At this time, there will be no admissions to the affected unit. All staff working on the affected unit are required to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times, which includes nurses, other professionals, security and housekeeping.
- Separate entrances and exits have been established on the affected unit to minimize exposure to staff and patients on other units.
- The frequently touched surfaces in the affected unit are now being disinfected three times per shift.
“This is an extremely stressful time for patients, their loved ones and our staff members,” OSH Superintendent Kristin Feeback said. “We recognize that communication with patients, families and staff is critically important, especially after a confirmed COVID-19 case. I appreciate our staff being so responsive and adaptive to the instructions given by local health officials to make sure we do all we can to prevent the spread of the virus as effectively as possible.”
Miami County has recorded a total of 20 COVID-19 cases, 13 of which are still active. Those 13 cases have all been reported in the past two weeks, according to the health department.
At a press briefing Monday, Gov. Laura Kelly said that the state’s disease spread, which had been on a downward trend before May 27, is trending upward again, with 406 new cases and five more deaths reported since Friday, June 19, raising the state’s totals to 12,465 cases and 259 deaths.
Kelly said the state is monitoring 92 active COVID-19 clusters of multiple cases. She said eight of those clusters are mass gatherings associated with graduations, funerals and Mother’s Day celebrations. The governor encouraged Kansans to avoid mass gatherings if possible, wear protective masks in public and practice social distancing.
Because of the upward trend in disease spread, Kelly said her administration, as well as officials with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, recommend that communities do not move into Phase Out of “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas,” which was originally planned to begin June 22, and instead stay in Phase 3 for at least two more weeks.
The emergency disaster declaration issued by the governor on May 26 transfers reopening decisions back to local officials, which means counties continuing with Phase 3 of the plan is only a recommendation.
Kelly said the state continues to monitor health metrics daily, and remains committed to supporting local communities in a safe, gradual transition.
“Please wear a mask, socially distance, and wash your hands often,” Kelly said. “Our state’s economic recovery depends on it.”