Some hospitals in Maine have not followed all federal rules aimed at restricting the spread of coronavirus in the summer, with staff at some hospitals not wearing face shields and eye protection, according to managers visited hospitals from June to September. In other cases, inspectors found that hospitals had not adequately screened workers and visitors for COVID- symptoms. 19.
Now, as the number of Mainers hospitalized for coronavirus continues to rise amid a record rise in infections across the state, the negligence of those hospitals and the experiences of others have been. Outbreaks suggest that the risk of viruses can still break their walls.
At least seven hospitals have been cited for the breaches, most of them in the more densely populated areas of the state, where the prevalence of COVID-19 was the greatest during the pandemic. One of them, Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, has been actively trying to stop a flare-up between its own staff and patients when inspectors visited in late July and discovered mistakes. errors in symptom check.
Overall, there is no clear evidence that coronaviruses are circulating in Maine hospitals, especially after they stockpiled protective equipment and took the precautions the federal government loves. demand during a pandemic.
But at least two other facilities with limited screening, Maplecrest Re Rehabilitation and Living in Madison and York County Prison in Alfred, experienced a major outbreak after infected people came to work. The prison also does not require workers to wear masks.
Two other hospitals, Calais Regional Hospital and Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast, had to stop the recent outbreaks of staff themselves, although it is possible those workers were infected with the virus in the community. where the virus is currently circulating, not in the workplace.
The most common type of violation at seven hospitals cited by state inspectors was inadequate examination of visitors, such as not measuring their temperature or when they did, using a 100.4 benchmark. degrees to classify someone as having a fever. The federal government has lowered that guideline to 100 degrees.
Some of them were found to be poorly executed that required workers to wear masks and some who had not yet fulfilled the new requirement of being frontline health workers in areas with higher COVID-19 rates. wear goggles or a face shield regularly, according to the profile. The BDN comes from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that reviews health care facilities for the federal government.
At Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, 14 workers and 2 patients eventually turned positive for COVID-19 after residents of a nearby nursing home with outbreaks of disease were taken to the nursing room. special squirrel in July. The person initially tested negative for the virus before being admitted to the hospital, but then tested again positive.
After the state learned of the outbreak, inspectors arriving there observed many tourists asked about potential COVID-19 symptoms but had not had their temperature measured before being allowed in. They also found that some staff members admitted to the hospital had not been checked for symptoms. .
At one point, a staff member was seen entering the emergency room without a mask, and inspectors discovered that dirt and some debris accumulated in the hospital’s intensive care unit where the patients with COVID-19 infection are being treated.
In response, the hospital has increased symptom checking, limited access points to easily track who is entering the building and improved sanitation, among other measures, according to Dr. John. Alexander, the medical director of the parent organization. Maine Medical Center.
Lewiston Hospital often relies on medical staff to clean equipment for COVID-19 patients, Alexander said, but many of them were put in quarantine during an outbreak. He said the hospital was also unable to determine whether staff were infected with the virus in the hospital or worked outside.
“We try to take a very safe approach first,” Alexander said. “That’s why we take this issue very seriously, really since it first got our attention back in July and we’ve really continued to keep it at the forefront. , testing and making sure every day we are doing the right things around hand hygiene and screening, and hand washing. “
In late June, a state inspector visited another hospital in Lewiston, St. District Medical Center. Mary, observed one emergency nurse without a mask and another with a mask under her chin. The two sat only inches apart, despite the risk of the virus being transmitted between people close to each other, the inspector reported.
Stephen Costello, spokesman for St. John’s. Mary, said staff were wearing masks when they saw patients during a pandemic, but the hospital provided additional education on the need to wear them even when they were not around the patient, to cover both. their face. mouth and nose with masks, and use social outreach.
He said the hospital performed a “daily check” on the masking, results showing 99% better compliance.
Four other Maine hospitals that have been charged with an infection control violation are all part of the state’s largest hospital chain, the MaineHealth: Maine Medical Center in Portland, South Maine Health Care in Biddeford, Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick and Spring Harbor Hospital, a psychiatric facility in Westbrook.
Inspectors who visited all four facilities in July and August found that they did not measure visitors’ temperatures.
They also found that the two visited in July, the Maine Medical Center and the Mid Coast Hospital, have yet to begin requiring frontline staff to wear eye protection such as visors or goggles when In meeting patients, this has recently become a federal requirement for hospitals in the community. with “moderate to sustained” viral transmission. Until then, MaineHealth facilities have only taken such precautions when the providers see patients at risk for coronavirus infection.
John Porter, a spokesperson for MaineHealth, said facilities immediately adopted an eye protection policy when it was “clearly announced” and that its leaders had “dialogue with regulators. about the effectiveness of temperature testing ”.
“These regulatory findings represent an active and productive dialogue between MaineHealth clinicians and federal and state officials, all of whom have worked closely together to identify and practices best practices, and should not be interpreted as a lack of policies or procedures at MaineHealth, ”Porter said.
In mid-September, an inspector visiting Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln found that workers were not screened when they entered the facility, but were asked to complete self-screening assessments before and after. they come to work. The inspector also found that seats in the hospital waiting area were not appropriately spaced and that the facility did not show sufficient signs to encourage preventive measures such as wearing masks.
CEO Crystal Landry said the hospital reorganized the waiting area so that there was at least six feet between seats, increased the number of signs and improved the immigration process for staff arriving.
“We welcome the survey team’s assessment of our procedures, which are put in place to ensure the safety of patients and staff,” Landry said. “We have been found to comply with all other aspects of the CDC guidance. We will continue to provide the best care for our communities and follow all safe care guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. ”