Salem Hospital (Caleb Wolf/Special to Salem Reporter)

An outbreak of COVID-19 at Salem Hospital has risen to 15 cases, according to the latest report from the Oregon Health Authority.

The COVID-19 Weekly Report, released Wednesday, shows  the number of employees who have tested positive for the virus has risen from  12 cases recorded last week. The investigation into the workplace outbreak began on May 27.

Salem Hospital, located at 890 Oak Street S.E., is the city’s only hospital. On May 28, the Oregon Health Authority announced it would begin reporting workplace outbreaks. Some workplaces that have had outbreaks, such as Pacific Seafood in Newport, shut down in response to large numbers of cases.

Healthcare workers are especially susceptible to contracting the coronavirus and can amplify outbreaks within healthcare facilities if they become ill, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Salem Health, the hospital’s operator, was not immediately able to respond to questions about the source of infection and how it was responding to it. Marion County Health & Human Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The hospital has 27 confirmed and suspected patients with COVID-19, according to the report.

On Wednesday, the Oregon Health Authority reported 171 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 7,444. Marion County saw 13 new cases and Polk County saw one. The agency also reported three new deaths, one of which was an 87-year-old woman in Marion County who had underlying health conditions. She tested positive on June 17 and died June 23 at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center in Tualatin. 

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Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009.