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Providence closes a hospital unit after major COVID-19 outbreak infects 49 – OregonLive

Providence Health & Services has shut down a unit of its Northeast Portland hospital after a major COVID-19 outbreak that has led to 49 staffers and patients contracting the virus.

The outbreak, the largest to date at a metro-area hospital in the Portland area, is believed to have begun around Dec. 20 and was centered in the hospital’s 4-k unit. That is not a a COVID unit, but rather treats patients who are stable but in need of ongoing, intense care, like stroke and traumatic brain injury victims.

Providence spokesman Gary Walker confirmed the outbreak took place and added that 36 hospital workers and 13 patients contracted the virus. None of them have died and most were asymptomatic or were only mildly ill, Walker said.

Jeremy Shipley, a five-year veteran registered nurse worked in the 4-k unit and contracted the virus. He’s recovering and is scheduled to return to work this weekend. But it’s also been devastating, he said, to catch COVID despite his meticulous attention to safety.

“I’ve been a champion of personal protection and caution,” he said. “I feel overwhelming shame that I was the one on our staff who went down.”

Some Oregon hospitals have been hit hard by the virus. A total of 158 staff and patients have contracted COVID at Salem Hospital since June. Another 87 have been infected at Good Shepherd Hospital in Hermiston since last summer. Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg has reported 61 COVID cases since last summer.

Early this month, PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver suffered a 29-person outbreak.

This latest outbreak is the fourth at a Providence facility since November and by far the largest.

Jeff Manning 971-263-5164 jmanning@oregonian.com

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