More than 100 employees at 3 Boston hospitals have tested positive for coronavirus
More than 100 hospital workers in Boston have tested positive for coronavirus, officials at three facilities in the city told CNN.
That news comes as medical officials around the country express fears that hospitals will run short on staff as workers contract the virus from ill patients, even as the rate of sick people going to hospitals still is increasing.
The 100-plus workers who tested positive are at three Boston hospitals. The numbers were reported Wednesday evening by these facilities:
• Brigham and Women’s Hospital — 45 employees
• Massachusetts General Hospital — 41 employees
• Boston Medical Center — 15 employees
“Employees who have tested positive are not working until after they have been cleared by occupational health services,” Brigham and Women’s Hospital spokeswoman Serena Bronda told CNN.
Massachusetts General Hospital believes most of its coronavirus-positive employees contracted the virus somewhere other than the hospital, representative Terri Ogan said,
That belief comes from “hospital data, our broad implementation of CDC-guided infection control procedures throughout the hospital, and the extent of community spread now ongoing in Massachusetts,” Ogan said.
Doctors and politicians around the country have warned about staff shortages that could come eventually as hospital staff get sick and temporarily remove themselves from the workforce to convalesce. States such as New York have called on retired medical workers to be ready to serve as backup staff.
“If you take (sick medical professionals) out of the equation, who steps in to take care of all these patients?” Dr. Rodrigo Kong, emergency medicine physician at New York’s Staten Island University Hospital, told CNN on Thursday.
By Thursday morning, Massachusetts had reported more than 1,800 coronavirus cases. At least 15 people infected by the virus have died in the state.
Massachusetts nurses: We should assume all patients have coronavirus
The Massachusetts Nurses Association has argued that all patients who come for medical aid should be assumed to be infected with the virus.
The association said as much in a Tuesday letter to state officials, urging them to do all they can to ensure medical providers have enough personal protective equipment, or PPE.
Medical workers in coronavirus hot spots around the country have said they’re running out of protective equipment like masks, gowns and gloves, which they would like to have to keep coronavirus from spreading from patients to themselves in hospitals.
“At this point, we should assume all patients are COVID-19 positive. The inability to effectively segregate patients quickly, as well as the lack of available testing with quick results, has left us with co-mingled patients and the virus is ahead of us,” the letter states.
“The shortage of PPE is widely known at this point. Our health care workers are being put in the position of caring for their patients without the proper supplies to protect themselves and their patients,” the letter says.
“Some health care facilities are making dangerous recommendations informed by supply shortages, not science,” the letter adds.