After three employees at its Pediatrics Center tested positive for COVID-19, Penobscot Community Healthcare is conducting careful contact tracing within the organization and among patients who may have been exposed while visiting their provider, PCHC officials said Friday. All those thought to have been exposed have been notified.
The community health center has encouraged those who have been exposed to quarantine, and they will be tested for the coronavirus at appropriate intervals (given the time of exposure and expected incubation periods). Approximately 50 patients and guardians and approximately 20 employees have had potential exposure. The three clinical employees who tested positive are recovering in isolation.
“The safety of our patients, their families, and our teams is our highest priority,” said PCHC President and CEO Lori Dwyer. “It’s of huge concern to us every time there is potential exposure and we are taking every possible remedial step, to include not just contact tracing and testing but deep cleaning of the Pediatrics practice and continuous audits of infection control practices.”
Responding to increased community transmission of the coronavirus in Penobscot County, PCHC last week began requiring all its employees to wear both eye protection and surgical masks while at work at all times. “Our staff has been diligent in wearing appropriate PPE,” said Dwyer. “We are working with the state CDC to further mitigate any risks.”
Other safety measures PCHC is taking include:
- A deep clean that includes an electrostatic spray that disinfects all surfaces and crevices
- Surveillance testing of employees to identify any asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases.
- Action plans to backfill positions during quarantine or isolation, to preserve healthcare access for patients.
Dwyer said the pediatrics center is safe for both patients and employees, and patients should continue to take care of their important healthcare needs. . Any patients or guardians who have questions or would like to reschedule appointments or discuss telehealth options should reach out to their provider.
About Penobscot Community Health Care
Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC) is a non-profit, Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) founded in 1997 to ensure access to comprehensive, integrated primary health care services for all to improve the health and wellbeing of patients and the Maine communities served. Seventeen practices and program service sites in the Bangor area, and in Belfast and Jackman, offer a wide range of services, including family medicine, dental, pediatrics, geriatrics, mental health, medication-assisted treatment and substance use disorder services, urgent/walk-in care services, as well as specialty services such as speech, audiology and chiropractic services, retail and primary care pharmacy, and healthcare for the homeless. Online at www.pchc.com.