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Samaritan workers quarantined after possible coronavirus exposure

Staff Writer | March 3, 2020 2:45 PM

MOSES LAKE — The Grant County Health District announced Tuesday that “several healthcare workers” at Samaritan Hospital involved in the care of a patient who may have the COVID-19 virus have been quarantined.

“Quarantining healthy individuals who are exposed to a contagious disease is standard protocol used to prevent the spread of disease and follows CDC guidance for COVID-19 prevention,” wrote Amber McCoy, environmental health specialist and spokesperson for the district.

“These individuals are being asked to do the quarantine at their homes and avoid contact with persons outside of their immediate families, for 14 days, and will be monitoring for symptoms,” McCoy added.

According to Gretchen Youngren of Samaritan Healthcare in Moses Lake, the hospital has been treating a patient “exhibiting symptoms related to” COVID-19 and had placed a list of Samaritan Hospital employees on quarantine in response.

“We have enacted quarantine precautions for any Samaritan staff that has had patient-care interaction with the potential COVID-19 patient,” said Andrea Carter, Samaritan Hospital’s chief medical officer.

“We are doing everything we can to support the care of our patients, staff, and community with the potential COVID-19 exposure,” Carter added.

McCoy said the health district is awaiting test results on the healthcare workers from the Washington State Public Health Laboratory, which could come as soon as Tuesday evening.

If the test results come back negative, the district will lift the quarantine, McCoy said.

“We’d like to thank the affected healthcare workers and Samaritan Hospital for helping keep our community safe while we wait for these results”, said Grant County Health Officer Alexander Brzezny.

In addition, McCoy said a second patient “at a different health care facility” has been tested for COVID-19.

“There is no link between the two patients at this time,” she said. “Test results for this individual are expected within two days.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, there have been 27 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washington, while nine people have died, according to the Washington State Department of Health. The state health department is also monitoring 231 people of COVID-19 who are believed to have been exposed or have traveled from infected areas in recent days.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at

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