Northwestern Medical Center, 3-31-2020

ST. ALBANS — Northwestern Medical Center announced on Tuesday that a member of its emergency department team has tested positive for COVID-19.

The staff person was exposed in the community and asymptomatic prior to testing, according to Jonathan Billings, NMC’s vice president of community relations and planning.

During two recent shifts the staff person reportedly wore personal protective equipment, socially distanced and took other precautions such as hand hygiene.

NMC said that “patients, staff members, and community partners with whom this person had close contact during those shifts have been identified and informed. Proper follow-up testing is underway.”

“Out of an abundance of caution given the close working conditions in the ED, all members of the ED staff are wearing N95 masks for the week while the testing is completed,” Billings said.

“This serves as a strong reminder that anyone can contract COVID-19,” Billings added. “It also underscores the importance of proper precautions to reduce the risk of transmission of illness, particularly as we enter the flu season.”

The Department of Health recommends everyone cover their face when they cannot remain at six feet away from people who are not part of their household, along with frequent hand washing for at least 20 seconds and staying home when sick.

In its statement, NMC also recommended getting a flu shot. The Vermont Dept. of Health has set an aggressive target for flu vaccinations this year, hoping to vaccinate 325,000 Vermonters this year.

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