Health department OKs plan to contain bacteria at St. Mary’s Hospital

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A local hospital had to shut down one of its intensive care units due to a string of bacteria infections.

Six patients at St. Mary’s Hospital tested positive for ESBL Klebsiella. In the past three weeks, six patients tested positive in the hospital’s Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit.

According to the Center for Disease Control website,  klebsiella can cause pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and bloodstream infections.

The hospital said this shouldn’t cause alarm because it can be treated with an antibiotic.

While the unit is in isolation, every patient will be tested to see if they have the bacteria prior to entering the hospital.

Hospital officials tell 8News a deep clean of the unit will be conducted using both manual efforts and utilizing disinfection robot technology. Hospital officials expect the cleaning to be done and everything to be back to normal by Wednesday.

Bon Secours released the following statement Monday night:

The Virginia Department of Health has confirmed that Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital’s action plan covers every possible step that can be taken to contain ESBL klebsiella, a bacterium that produces an enzyme known as Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamase (ESBL).

Klebsiella is a common bacterium that is found in almost all of our bodies within the intestinal tract. ESBL klebsiella is not cause for alarm as it can be treated with antibiotics.

ESBL klebsiella has been identified in cultures from six patients hospitalized at St. Mary’s between March 26 and April 16. After a fourth patient was identified, St. Mary’s proactively contacted the Virginia Department of Health, with its action plan as well as the added precautionary measure of patient testing and contact isolation in the unit.

Key aspects of the action plan included conducting a deep clean of the areas impacted and pro-active testing to determine if the patients acquired the bacteria at the hospital or if it was present in their bodies before they were admitted. The deep clean of the unit included both manual cleaning as well as utilizing the Tru-D SmartUVC advanced disinfection robot technology. The cleaning process of the unit will be complete by Wednesday and Bon Secours continues to maintain a full schedule of patient care.

Bon Secours continues to take every precaution to ensure the safety of patients, visitors and their families. If you have questions, call Bon Secours at (804) 281-8030.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

Never miss another Facebook post from 8News

Find 8News on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to