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Polk tests over 100

St. Luke’s employees tested for COVID-19

COLUMBUS—St. Luke’s Hospital recently tested over 100 employees for COVID-19.

The hospital, with guidance from the Polk County Health and Human Services Agency conducted targeted testing of staff and patients at location where they may have been impacted or frequented for the virus.

Polk County HHSA Director Joshua Kennedy said on Monday that over 100 tests were done, but all tests will not be reflected in Polk County results as many of the members of the hospital team and patients do not reside in Polk County.

The Bulletin asked how many of the tests from the hospital were positive and Kennedy said he would get that number, but had not responded as of press time.

Kennedy did say in addition to proactive testing to assure safety, the St. Luke’s Hospital team continues to monitor all team members daily for potential symptoms of COVID-19.

“The continued monitoring of staff is not just a recommendation for the St. Luke’s Hospital team but for all businesses, so those with symptoms can be isolated from the workplace and prevent spreading the Coronavirus to teammates or customers during their shift,” Kennedy said. “This prevention strategy also significantly reduces the contact tracing that would need to occur should someone become positive, protects the business from losing portions of their workforce due to quarantine requirements, prevents teammates from being out of work, and protects customers. Given the demographics of Polk County, which has a significant portion of the population that would be considered high risk, we encourage everyone to be vigilant and take proactive steps to prevent the spread of the virus by wearing a cloth face covering when in public, maintain social distancing (6+ feet), remember your hand hygiene, and stay home if you are sick. These quick and easy strategies will keep us moving forward together, slow the spread of the virus to manageable levels, and help our community thrive well beyond this pandemic.”

St. Luke’s CEO Michelle Fortune said using precautions when people are in public places can help prevent contracting the virus.

“However, there is currently community spread of the Coronavirus which is why St. Luke’s Hospital has taken steps to monitor all staff, every day, to ensure we have closed the gaps that could lead to further spread,” Fortune said. “Our teammates value this community, and we appreciate the important role St. Luke’s plays as a major resource and asset to Polk County. We maintain constant lines of communication with our local health partners and our regional partners where we share strategies to keep our communities safe, moving forward and successful.”