Six employees at an Adventist Health medical office building fell ill this afternoon after a “package that contained an unknown substance” was located and opened at the facility, reported Adventist Health in a press release this afternoon
This prompted evacuations of the affected buildings and the deployment of a hazardous material team that is currently working to identify the substance responsible for the symptoms.
Ukiah Valley Fire Authority Battalion Chief Eric Singleton told us that two Adventist Health employees at 260 Hospital Drive began to feel dizzy, lightheaded, and felt a scratchy throat after handling documents located in the package.
After those two patients were exposed, they reportedly self-transported to the Adventist Health Ukiah Valley’s Emergency Room prompting containment and evacuation within a small area of that facility.
Four more individuals experienced symptoms after coming in close contact with the documents. Adventist Health’s press release specified, “Several team members experienced symptoms and are being treated in the Emergency Room for minor symptoms.”
Battalion Chief Singleton told us that all those affected were within one foot of the documents or had direct physical contact. He emphasized that his agency does not believe “there is a danger to the community at this time.
He said the package did not come to the facility by means of the postal service but seemed to have been dropped off at the location.
The press release issued by Adventist Health indicated those exposed to the documents were limited to two suites in the medical office building across from the hospital itself.
Currently, the hazmat team is testing the documents with a variety of instruments but has yet to find any powders or waxy substances on them, Battalion Chief Singleton said.
Adventist Health stated in its press release, “Patients and staff remained safe the entire time of the incident and will continue to be monitored for symptoms.”
The following is the entirety of the press release issued by Adventist Health Ukiah Valley in the last hour:
At approximately 4:00 p.m. this afternoon, an Adventist Health employee at 260 Hospital Drive (medical office building located cross from the hospital) started experiencing symptoms after opening a package that contained an unknown substance. Several team members experienced symptoms and are being treated in the Emergency Room for minor symptoms. Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our patients and staff, and following our emergency protocol, all occupants were evacuated from the building and emergency responders were called. Law enforcement agencies are still investigating and going through the process of identifying the substance. At this time, initial findings indicate that exposure was isolated to two suites and there are no additional individuals who are experiencing symptoms. Patients and staff remained safe the entire time of the incident and will continue to be monitored for symptoms. Patients and staff at the hospital on 275 Hospital Drive were not impacted. Adventist Health administration and staff are cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation. Patient and staff safety remains our number one priority. We have no updates at this time and all questions regarding the investigation should be referred to the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority. We are grateful to our first responders and law enforcement for this prompt response.