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Asante: COVID-19 outbreak mainly among employees

The Oregon Health Authority reported 61 COVID-19 cases have been linked to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford. Jamie Lusch/Mail Tribune
State links 61 cases to Rogue Regional Medical Center

A COVID-19 outbreak involving 61 people at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center mainly involves employees, plus a few patients and one household contact, said Lauren Van Sickle, spokesperson for Asante.

The Oregon Health Authority announced the outbreak Monday. Cases have been identified among residents of Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties, the agency said.

OHA, Asante and Jackson County Public Health are working together to address the outbreak.

It appears there has been a mix of sources of infection among employees, including infection from out in the community and at the workplace, Van Sickle said Tuesday.

“Given the volume of patients we're seeing right now with COVID, this is very unfortunate but really not surprising. We're doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our patients and employees by following all the appropriate protocols for infection prevention and doing the best we can to mitigate any kind of exposure to patients and other employees within each department," Van Sickle said.

Outbreaks occurred in several departments at RRMC, she said.

OHA and Jackson County Public Health officials began investigating two separate department outbreaks at the medical center in early July, which were reported in the OHA Weekly Workplace Outbreak Report, OHA said.

Last week, Asante reported a significant increase in cases from multiple departments, leading OHA to consolidate the departmental outbreaks. As of Monday, OHA was aware of 61 cases associated with the outbreak.

A sample of the cases was sequenced and all were identified as having the highly contagious delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, OHA said.

The vaccination status of the infected Asante employees is protected health information, Van Sickle said.

However, Asante as a whole has an employee vaccination rate of 64%, she said.

Asante doesn’t have immediately available information about how many people had to be hospitalized as a result of the outbreak, but at least some did have to be hospitalized, according to Van Sickle.

Some of the employees are not working and some have returned to work. Employees without symptoms who test positive can return to work once they test negative. Employees who experience symptoms can return to work after they are symptom-free and also test negative, Van Sickle said.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.