UPDATE: Powder That Locked Down Washington County Hospital Getting Tested

Washington County Hospital is open once again after having to lock down for nearly five hours Wednesday.

Washington County Hospital admitted 4 patients who had been exposed to a white powder substance at the cable and internet company Mediacom in Plymouth. As a precaution, they locked down the hospital, and decontaminated the patients. Hospital officials say the safety measures weren't extreme, they were necessary.

"They knew that there was a reason why, and that we were doing it for their safety, and for the safety of their families," said hospital spokeswoman Carrie Dickerson-Boyd.

Hospital officials told us that at this time hazmat still has not identified the substance, but they told the hospital Wednesday afternoon that they could reopen because it wasn't a biological threat. The substance was sent to Raleigh for more testing.

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The scene has been cleared after a white powder in a package shut down a road and put the hospital on lockdown in Washington County for more than four hours.

The field testing on the powder by state hazmat crews is complete, but officials have not released what the powder was. Officials did say it was not a chemical that could cause harm to someone.

Deputies say they are treating this as a criminal investigation.

Officials say an employee at Mediacom on Highway 32 in Plymouth opened a package this morning to find a white substance inside, which another employee looked at and then contacted law enforcement.

Two sheriff's deputies came to check out the package. The four were advised to go to the hospital to be checked out as a precautionary measure. We're told they were given decontamination showers at the hospital.

The Washington County hospital in Plymouth, following hazardous material requirements, locked the hospital down and did not allow people to go in or out.

State emergency management officials were notified.

Highway 32 near Mediacom, which is a cable company, was blocked to traffic for more than four hours.

There is no word on where the package originated.


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