More than 100 staff members at Ocean Medical Center were out of work due to COVID-19
More than 100 staff members at Ocean Medical Center were out of work due to COVID-19 as of late last month, but according to the Ocean County Health Department -- it's not because of actions inside the hospital.
Hackensack Meridian Health, the hospital's parent company, agrees with the health department, and a hospital spokesperson says despite the high number of cases, there has been no impact on patient care.
The medical center is open today, as are all of the facilities under the Hackensack Meridian Health banner. Word of the outbreak first surfaced on a memo dated Nov. 20 by Hackensack Meridian Health. On the memo, it said more than 100 team members were out at one hospital after several colleagues socialized outside of work.
Ocean County Health Department's public health coordinator Dan Regenye says this is similar to other cases and outbreaks they've seen in schools, where transmission began outside of the hospital and then brought there from external gatherings.
Regenye says they are also still seeing only mild to moderate symptoms in most positive cases.
A section of the memo emphasized the importance of following guidelines outside of work, saying, “What we know better than anyone, is that it only takes one gathering. One lapse of judgement, one event where we are lax in complying with best prevention practices.”
New enhanced safety protocols remain in place, including suspended visitation with limited exceptions, employees undergoing comprehensive screening and temperature checks, patients tested for COVID-19 on admission and again after stays longer than two days, and rigorous contact tracing and intense cleaning of all facilities.
The most recent update from Ocean Medical Center states that as of Nov. 30, there are currently has 68 COVID-19 patients - with 12 still waiting for test results.