St. Luke's responds after firefighters exposed to COVID-19

Published: Mar. 22, 2020 at 8:00 AM EDT
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When three Springfield Township firefighters transported Mark Wagoner Sr. to St. Luke's Hospital, they may have been exposed to coronavirus.

However, hospital administrators said no one at St. Luke's was ever at risk.

"I can speak for St. Luke's and we were 100 percent prepared," said Cheryl Herr, Director of Emergency Services at St. Luke's.

Wagoner, 76, a prominent local attorney, died Wednesday. He was confirmed to have COVID-19 two days later when the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department reported Wagoner's test results came back positive.

Once he arrived at the hospital, administrators said Wagoner was transferred from the outside directly into a negative airflow room. He was isolated without passing through hospital hallways.

Yet the firefighters who transferred Wagoner are now under quarantine.

At the time he was transported, Wagoner was a suspected case of COVID-19, not a confirmed case. Therefore, firefighters may not have received advance warning to take precautions.

"We've never reported on anything but positives, so we are engaging a different process for suspect," Herr said.

Those at St. Luke's say they're working to change communication protocols to keep up with the ever-changing recommendations on how to safely manage patients who have suspected cases of coronavirus.

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"Our communications system, we've always notified our partners of positive tests, and we continue, though, to evolve in terms of that communication, making sure that so that people are protected and our first responders are protected," Jill Trosin, Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer at St. Luke's, said.

Moving forward, when a patient has symptoms of coronavirus, those at St. Luke's said firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, and other first responders will be notified before making contact with that individual.