Press Releases

Statement from Seattle Children’s on Main Campus Operating Rooms

Seattle Children’s is performing surgeries at our main campus and at our Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center.

In 2019, we temporarily closed 10 ORs in order to install a new rooftop air handling unit, as well as in-room HEPA filtration systems in those ORs. HEPA is an extremely effective filtration system that removes more than 99.97% of particles from the air passing through the filter. Since re-opening our ORs in February 2020, we have conducted continuous air pressure monitoring and daily air testing, and validated that the new air handling unit and HEPA filtration systems are functioning as expected. 

Providing safe, quality care is our top priority at Seattle Children’s. As we stated before reopening our ORs, we are committed to taking swift and necessary action – including closing ORs – in the event of unexpected test results. In May, routine air tests detected low levels of fungal spores in several ORs and supply rooms. Daily testing of our ORs and supply rooms has not detected any Aspergillus fumigatus spores, which is the species of Aspergillus associated with our previously confirmed 14 Aspergillus surgical site infections. Air testing did detect very low levels of Aspergillus versicolor spores, which is generally not associated with causing surgical site infections. Nevertheless, the air test results prompted us to evaluate the environment and OR air pressures, which revealed unexpected air pressure findings. 

Based on these results, we decided to proceed with a more expansive evaluation of the impacted spaces in collaboration with external engineering experts. We anticipate several ORs will be closed for several weeks while the evaluation is underway.

Seattle Children’s shared this information with the Washington State Department of Health on May 12.

About Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s mission is to provide hope, care and cures to help every child live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible. Together, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Research Institute and Foundation deliver superior patient care, identify new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients.

Ranked as one of the top children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical center for Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho – the largest region of any children’s hospital in the country. As one of the nation’s top five pediatric research centers, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is internationally recognized for its work in neurosciences, immunology, cancer, infectious disease, injury prevention and much more. Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation works with the Seattle Children’s Guild Association, the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country, to gather community support and raise funds for uncompensated care and research. Join Seattle Children’s bold initiative – It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s – to transform children’s health for generations to come.

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