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GRH update on potential workplace outbreak

Hospital news | Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Contact: Mardi Ford

Union County is experiencing a second community-wide outbreak of COVID-19 that appears to be more organic and wide spread than we experienced last June. It has now impacted our workforce at Grande Ronde Hospital and Clinics (GRH). We fully anticipate GRH will be added to the weekly reporting from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) as a workplace outbreak for meeting the minimum threshold of cases for OHA reporting. We anticipate little disruption to our services at this point, as we are monitoring and managing staffing levels to compensate as needed. The good news is that the internal processes we follow for tracing COVID-19 among our staff has worked well. Unfortunately, we are not completely immune from the current spread in our community.

Additionally, at this point, our cases of COVID-19 patients in house remain manageable. We hope it stays this way, but are prepared to handle a surge in cases. As a small, rural hospital, we work with our partners in the region and talk daily as we manage our regional supply chain and patient loads. We are confident with the current numbers we are seeing in our abilities to manage a potential surge in patients.

However, we also want to remind our community that this is also the season for Influenza-Like Illnesses (ILI) to spread. We typically see a surge of patients with these symptoms this time of year. It does not mean that all patients with ILIs are COVID-19 patients. It does mean that our hospital census is always typically higher this time of year. We ask that everyone continue to take the same precautions for influenza as we have been taking for COVID-19. Either illness has the potential to make you sick enough to need hospitalization.

Since last March, we have taken measures to monitor all of our employees for any signs of illness including mandatory daily health and temperature screenings, attestations of potential exposures, and a robust internal contact tracing process led by our Infection Prevention and Control Department. These measures are working well, and helped quickly stop a potential spread in our facilities last June from a single-sourced community outbreak that was initially traced through our local public health department.

A final reminder that on Friday November 13th we implemented visitor restrictions as one way to do our part in helping stop the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus in our community and protect our patients and our workforce. For more information, please visit


Grande Ronde Hospital, Inc. is a state and nationally recognized and award winning not-for-profit health system that includes a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital and 12 outpatient clinics. We are located in Union County, Oregon, serving our base population of more than 25,000 residents, as well as providing services for the greater Eastern Oregon region. Since 1907, Grande Ronde Hospital has led this region in efforts to stabilize and secure rural health care services for the communities we serve, while also working to improve the quality of life of all our residents. Today we employ more than 700 people, all dedicated to providing quality health care services to our patients. We offer a broad range of diagnostic, surgical and therapeutic outpatient services, a Level IV Trauma Emergency Services Department, a Family Birthing Center; Physical, Occupational and Speech Rehabilitation Therapy and Sports Medicine Services, and Home Care Services providing both home health and hospice care needs. We also operate 12 primary and specialty care clinics: the Cardiology Clinic, the Dermatology Clinic, the Elgin Clinic, the Hematology & Oncology Clinic, the Neurology Clinic, the Regional Medical Clinic, the Sleep Clinic, the Specialty Clinic (General Surgery, Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, Otolaryngology (ENT), Rheumatology, and Urology), the Walk-In Clinic, the Wound Care Clinic, the Union Clinic, and the Women’s & Children’s Clinic (Gynecology, Obstetrics and Pediatrics). For more information, please visit