Lockdown lifted at Southampton Memorial Hospital ER after 2 patients exposed to ‘uncontrolled substance’


FRANKLIN, Va. (WAVY) — The emergency department at Southampton Memorial Hospital in Franklin went under lockdown Thursday afternoon.

A spokeswoman with Bon Secours said only the emergency department was on lockdown, not the whole hospital. It was lifted by 7 p.m.

Officials said the lockdown was prompted by two patients “self-presenting” with concerns that they were exposed to an “uncontrolled substance.”

The substance was tested and is not believed to be hazardous, Virginia State Police said.

“I think any situation like that would be scary for anybody who’s not aware of the type of material that they’re dealing with,” said state police spokeswoman Sgt. Michelle Anaya. 

The lockdown began at 3:10 p.m.

“Safety and high quality patient care is of the utmost importance to Bon Secours. The ED at SMH will remain in lockdown status until the potential threat has been contained and concerns resolved in order to protect the safety of the patients, medical staff and essential personnel,” the spokeswoman said.

The two patients are currently listed in “good condition,” the hospital said at 5:05 p.m. The two people are undergoing testing to see what caused the reaction.

Virginia State Police said troopers are assisting the local police department with the incident.

Franklin City Manager Amanda Jarratt said the city is working closely with the hospital. Franklin Fire Rescue and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management are on scene.

10 On Your Side’s Jason Marks is on the scene and says Portsmouth hazmat is at the hospital.

Sources have told 10 On Your Side that two people came in to the emergency department with some sort of substance that came through the mail. They were concerned about their exposure to the substance.

They got sick and came to the hospital, bringing the substance with them, sources said.

The investigation is ongoing.

“At approximately 6:45 p.m., the quarantine was lifted and the substance was deemed not to appear hazardous,” state police wrote in an email. “Although the quarantine is lifted, this is still an active and ongoing investigation. VDEM and HAZMAT teams are on-scene. The substance has been collected and further testing will be conducted.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is also involved because this is a federal case that relates to the postal service and mail.

Southampton Memorial Hospital is located at 100 Fairview Drive in Franklin. It is a Bon Secours hospital and has 219 beds in the facility and provides inpatient, outpatient, emergency, medical, surgical and long-term care.

This story is developing news. Stay with WAVY.com for updates.

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