Brigham also “performed a thorough cleaning” of the affected area and stopped admission to these units, according to a statement on the hospital’s website. And it has limited visitors to “certain areas.”
Trish Powers, a trauma nurse and chair of the Massachusetts Nurses Association in Brigham, said the outbreak was worrying given the number and variety of people moving through the hospital each day, from food service workers to medical students.
“There are many ways to spread this. They are desperately trying to contain it, “Powers said. “It has the potential to be something really huge. … We all hope and pray that this remains somewhat restrained and does not spread like wildfire. “
At least two nurses were among the five employees who tested positive and both had symptoms, Powers said. One isolates herself in her bedroom while the children and her husband are at home, attending school and working remotely. One regularly took Brigham̵
Hospital staff and visitors were wearing masks, although sometimes visitors need reminders to cover their noses, Powers said. The N95 masks with the highest level of protection are reserved for staff treating patients with COVID-19.
“It just shows that even here, where 99 percent of people have the right mask all the time and there’s Purell everywhere, that these things can happen,” Powers said. The union represents 3,400 nurses at the hospital.
Transmission of COVID-19 in hospital is considered unusual, but data are unclear. In fact, just two weeks ago, researchers from Brigham published a study showing virtually no coronavirus transmission in hospital for a period of 12 weeks. Only two patients out of more than 9,000 went down with COVID-19 while in the hospital; one was apparently infected by a spouse and the other has no known hospital exposure.
But in July, an employee of BayState Medical Center in Springfield traveled to a hotspot outside the state and apparently spread the virus to colleagues who were shaken for wearing masks in the rest room, leading to a bunch of cases among workers and patients who eventually 55 people are participating, according to news reports.
A recent analysis of federal data from the Wall Street Journal found that 7,400 patients across the country caught the virus in hospitals while being treated for other illnesses between May 14 and July 14. Hospitals treated an average of 25,900 patients with COVID-19 per day.
Brigham and Women identified the group of cases on Tuesday in blocks 14CD and 16A of Braunwald Tower.
“Our infection and occupational health experts work closely with all staff and patients involved to ensure that those who have been exposed are identified and tested,” wrote Dr. Mike Clompas, a hospital epidemiologist. in an email to employees late Wednesday.
I also care about women did not provide any information beyond his statement. But Powers, the union leader, said all patients were tested negative on arrival. Some later tested positive at the hospital and others after discharge, she said, but did not know what caused the tests.
The infected patients, who are still in the hospital, have been moved to the COVID-19 ward in another building and Unit 16A has been closed, according to Powers.
In a statement, the hospital said: “Brigham is committed to creating and maintaining a safe care environment by testing all patients admitted to the hospital, requiring staff to certify their health every day before work, requiring all staff, patients and visitors to wear issued hospital masks while on campus, insisting on frequent hand hygiene, frequent cleaning of the environment and the imposition of appropriate physical distancing. “
The hospital has no information about the origin of the cluster, stating on its website that it is still under investigation.
This story is evolving and will be updated.
You can find Felice J. Freyer at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @felicejfreyer