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Hospital official says employee tested negative for COVID-19

Posted at 11:23 AM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 23:55:12-04

Test results have come back for a Driscoll Children's Hospital employee being tested for COVID-19. She tested negative.

Driscoll Children's Hospital spokesman Ben Castle told KRIS 6 News that the unidentified employee does not have COVID-19.

We reported earlier that an employee at Driscoll Children's Hospital was being tested after displaying symptoms.

"The employee who has symptoms consistent with COVID-19 had a very defined role at Driscoll Children's Hospital, so she didn't interact with the larger population here," said Driscoll Children's Hospital's Director of Infection Prevention Nancy Fallwell. "Most of her work was done by telephone."

A release from the hospital said the employee came in contact with someone who recently traveled within the U.S. and became a person under investigation. It does not say where the person traveled.

She was said to have immediately reported the contact to Driscoll administration and the local health district, and is being monitored for "cold symptoms consistent with COVID-19."

"We have tracked everywhere she went in the hospital and her interactions," Fallwell said. "When she was working at Driscoll, she had no symptoms. She has not been hospitalized."

Castle said Driscoll Children's Hospital is acting out of an abundance of caution, and per CDC and health district guidelines.

The release said the employee worked one day before developing "cold symptoms' consistent with COVID-19, and had come in contact with three patients a day before developing symptoms.

The patients' families have been notified, and the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District has said the patients are to be treated as low-risk and monitored for symptoms only. It has not requested testing for the patients.

The hospital said it has a COVID-19 Task Force in place which has been working with the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District, adhering to CDC guidelines as it screens patients for susceptibility to COVID-19.

The hospital said it is isolating and treating patients who have symptoms similar to COVID-19, and is asking employees to self-monitor for illness. Those with symptoms of any illness are asked to "remove themselves from work."

"There is no need for parents to cancel or reschedule Driscoll appointments," said Vice President of Clinical Operations Karen Long. "Patient safety always has been --- and will be --- the No. 1 priority at Driscoll Children's Hospital. . . . As a hospital, we have always maintained a clean, sterile environment and we are taking additional steps to ensure that. Such measures are even more important when dealing with a pandemic like COVID-19."