UPMC COVID-19 test

An unused COVID-19 specimen kit from the UPMC Western Maryland lab. (File photo)

CUMBERLAND — Some employees at UPMC Western Maryland have tested positive for COVID-19, but the hospital system will not release numbers or details.

In response to an email from Cumberland Times-News Tuesday, a UPMC Western Maryland spokesman said the hospital system is working with the Allegany County Health Department on contact tracing to notify people that might have been exposed to the workers.

"In the interest of patient privacy," UPMC Western Maryland would not answer CTN's questions including how many employees tested positive, when and where they were tested, or what departments they work in.

Additionally, UPMC Western Maryland did not issue a press release on the matter.

"All of the employees who tested positive are self-isolating at home, and additional staff who had direct exposure to them are quarantining at home," the spokesman said via email.

"Patients and families for whom the employees provided care are aware and understand the risk of exposure is extremely low," he said and attributed that "to our universal masking, personal protective equipment use and other infection prevention practices."

UPMC Western Maryland is open, operating normally and ready to provide care, he said.

"We encourage the community to remain vigilant and follow public health guidance, including wearing masks, physical distancing and washing hands," he said.

According to a press release from the Garrett County Joint Information Center Team Tuesday, the Garrett County Health Department received positive COVID-19 results for three additional people, bringing the current county total to 34.

The new positive cases include:

• An asymptomatic female in her 50s who is a staff member at Dennett Road Manor Nursing Home. She is isolating at home.

• A male in his 50s with symptoms isolating at home.

• A female in her 20s with symptoms isolating at home.

"Anyone going to the Garrett Regional Medical Center for a COVID-19 test must have a physician’s (order) and must go through the lab," the release stated. "Please do not go to the emergency room for testing unless you are sick enough to need emergency care."

The best way for people to protect themselves and slow the spread of COVID-19 is to practice social distancing, wear a face covering when indoors with non-family members, and frequently wash hands, Tiffany Fratz, GCHD's director of personal health, said via the release.

For more, call 301 334-7770 or 301 895-3111.

ACHD on Monday reported a total of 233 positive COVID-19 cases.

On Tuesday, the Maryland Health Department reported that Allegany County had 240 COVID-19 total cases and 18 deaths.

The state has 79,545 confirmed cases of the virus, which includes 20 deaths and 860 new positive test results in the past 24 hours.

Teresa McMinn is the digital editor at Cumberland Times-News. Email her at tmcminn@times-news.com, call/text her at 304-639-2371 and follow her on Twitter.

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