• Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News

Area hospitals work to keep health care workers safe after employees test positive for COVID-19


CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, Ark- Multiple employees at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center in Paragould have tested positive for COVID-19.

But this isn’t the first case, it’s estimated that thousands of health care workers across the country have contracted the virus.

Area hospitals are working to keep their staff as safe as possible.

“We wanna make sure they’re using PPE properly,” says Media Relations Manager for St. Bernards Medical Center, Mitchell Nail. “We wanna make sure that they always keep their guard up because an exposure can happen when you let your guard down. With spread taking place as quickly and widespread, you never wanna let your guard down.”

St. Bernards and NEA Baptist requires all visitors, and employees go through a temperature screening and questionnaire before entering the building.

We reached out to AMMC, they declined to comment.

The hospital did release a statement, saying in part “employees who test positive for COVID-19 or present with symptoms are placed on home isolation, consistent with arkansas department of health and CDC guidelines.”

Director of Marketing for NEA Baptist, Ty Jones says proper use of personal protective equipment is a must to keep employees safe.

“Employees also receive a mask every day,” says Jones. “It’s a new mask so there’s no taking it home with you and hoping someone washes it. It’s new and sterile and safe.”

The CDC last released data in June, but it's estimated; that over 62,000 health care workers have been diagnosed with the virus, with hundreds dying of COVID-19.

That number is expected to be much higher now. In arkansas 6.2% of positive COVID patients are in health care.

NEA Baptist did test 1,700 employees with only two tests coming back positive.

Nail says if an employee working with COVID patients shows symptoms they are immediately tested.

Both Nail and Jones say they’ve had employees test positive for the virus but say they have not had any outbreaks from it.

Both hospitals also have a plan in place when an employee tests positive or fails the screening requirements entering.

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