On January 11, 2021, the Maine Centers for Disease Control (CDC) declared an end to the Covid-19 outbreak for the Inpatient Adult Health Care area at York Hospital, which began on December 6, 2020. The CDC requires a monitoring period of 14 days following closure; if any further positive Covid tests are recorded, the outbreak is re-opened. Due to the continued and careful  efforts of York Hospital caregivers, the hospital is happy to report that as of January 25, 2021, the outbreak is officially closed. In total, the number of outbreak-related Covid positive caregivers is 46, while patient numbers have remained at 13 since December 14, 2020. 

“As a member of the teams supporting caregiver and patient safety, I remain so encouraged by the dedication of our caregivers both in our efforts throughout the outbreak and post-outbreak. Our caregivers showed up in droves, participating in testing every five days over several weeks in order to support infection control protocol, sacrificing cherished spare time when already giving so much to provide health care in the midst of a pandemic,” said Matt Bennett, director of patient quality and caregiver experiences.

The vigilant testing, combined with vigorously enforced protocols, were the support system needed to help control the virus spread over the five-week period.  The hospital was able to react swiftly to assess and restrict any policies which may positively impact the outbreak.  Policies which curtailed travel, required eye protection in addition to hospital masking for every staff member, closing of the cafeteria and restricting eating and drinking to one person in a room, were all contributing factors in curbing the virus. These, in addition to robust screening procedures for all at every entrance, in tandem with amended visitor policies designed for each service, were also part of the solution.

Evangeline Thibodeau, MD, infectious disease specialist leading the I.D. efforts during the outbreak, praised both caregivers and, in particular, her liaisons at the Maine CDC. “We owe so much to the guidance and education from our clinical consultants at the Maine CDC. They remained at the ready and available to our Infectious Control team, answering questions and advising us on policy and protocol assessments that required immediate response. With their close collaboration and guidance we were able to implement strict infection control processes which will remain in place moving forward, patient masking among the most important. I know that our I.D. team and caregivers will continue to learn from the outbreak. Implementing active Infectious Disease rounding with staff and patients, where they are able to address specific questions in real time, assists this education effort,” said Dr. Thibodeau.

Adherence to safety measures, combined with the overwhelming response by employed, non-employed and volunteer caregivers to vaccinate, has provided an additional level of reassurance. With unparalleled caregiver commitment the outbreak is officially closed, and York Hospital remains confident that the organization is safe for patients and caregivers alike.

For further information about York Hospital services, please contact the Community Relations office at 207-351-2385.