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St. Luke’s says healthcare workers are avoiding contracting COVID-19 at hospitals

Officials say most health care workers infected with COVID-19 contracted it in the community
 FILE - In this July 5, 2020, file photo, healthcare workers help each other with their personal protective equipment at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site outside Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. The PPE that was in dangerously short supply during the initial weeks of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S. is running out again as the virus resumes its rapid spread and the number of hospitalized patients climbs.(Wilfredo Lee | AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
FILE - In this July 5, 2020, file photo, healthcare workers help each other with their personal protective equipment at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site outside Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. The PPE that was in dangerously short supply during the initial weeks of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S. is running out again as the virus resumes its rapid spread and the number of hospitalized patients climbs.(Wilfredo Lee | AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File) (WTVG)
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 11:36 AM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - As the coronavirus pandemic continues some people are asking the question is it safe to go to a hospital during this pandemic?

In the face of much information about COVID-19, people are constantly hearing about how to stay safe and healthy by wearing a mask when out in public and social distancing, but many are worried if they go to a hospital for a non-COVID-19 issue they will end up contacting COVID from an infected person or medical personnel.

While at one point last week, 200 employees statewide within the St. Luke’s Health System were out with COVID-19, including about 50 nurses and 10 doctors. It’s believed the majority of those cases were obtained while they were out in the community and not from working in the hospital.

“We continue to have low to the point of zero transmission within the hospital that we can truly identify,” said Dr. Joshua Kern, Vice President of medical affairs for St. Luke’s Magic Valley, Jerome and Wood River.

Kern pointed to the use of masks as one sign of the low numbers of St. Luke’s employees contracting coronavirus.

“That’s one of the things that I use as, actually (evidence), even if we don’t have perfect science to say masks prevent spread of coronavirus, we know in the hospitals they prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” Kern said. “We’re working directly with sick coronavirus patients who are coughing and yet are able to prevent our employees from getting coronavirus. So to me, that is probably the most compelling piece of evidence I can point to.”

He added that for any healthy adult there is no risk when it comes to wearing masks, and that the idea of them lowering a person’s oxygen or making them recycle their carbon dioxide is not based in any functional science.

Copyright 2020 KMVT/KSVT. All rights reserved.

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