A hospital in California is facing a corona virus outbreak that has killed one employee and affected dozens of employees – a wave that emerged from inflated clothing worn at Christmas to cheer patients on.
The hospital said in an email Monday that an employee, who was not publicly identified at the hospital out of respect for the family’s privacy, died of Govt-19 complications. Other details were not immediately available.
According to a report from the Kaiser Permanent San Jose Medical Center on Saturday, at least 44 employees tested positive for the virus from December 27 until New Year’s Day. The emergency department of the hospital has been thoroughly cleaned and all the affected staff are being isolated.
The hospital is investigating whether fan droplets in an “air-powered suit” could spread after a staff member in the emergency department wore it briefly on Christmas Day.
“If there was any exposure, it would have been completely innocent and very accidental because the person had no symptoms of COVID and tried to lift the spirits of those around them during the most stressful time,” the hospital said.
The Kaiser Permanent San Jose Medical Center will no longer allow such clothing in its facility, the report said.
Emergency personnel at the Kaiser Permanent San Jose Medical Center, who were able to receive the Govit-19 vaccine, were only given the first vaccination days before Christmas Day, and did not reach immunity at the time of the incident.
There would have been no second booster shot of them on Christmas Day.
“During this period, as vaccinations are being introduced in our communities, it is important for everyone to protect themselves by constantly wearing masks, hand washing, avoiding meetings and adhering to social distance,” the hospital said.
None of the staff who tested positive would return to work, although the hospital said it was hiring extra staff as part of its products.
California hospitals have been inundated in recent weeks amid a new rise in the virus, which has led to daily deaths and an increase in the number of hospital admissions.
The bay area of the state is only available for 5.1 percent of its intensive care units. Beds are not available in many of its hospitals, including Southern California hospitals, because staff create temporary units in gift shops or pediatric wards.
California reports 2,345,909 confirmed corona virus cases, more than 26,000 deaths State Public Health Department numbers released Saturday.
Wilson Wong Contributed.