Brigham and Women's reported this afternoon that 19 staffers and 9 patients have now tested positive for Covid-19 in a cluster related to two units, and that 600 additional people are now awaiting testing.
The hospital says all of the cases have been in people connected to its Braunwald Tower 16A and 14CD units.
This outbreak is not impacting any other areas of the hospital or our outpatient clinics.
The hospital said that its infection control team has been unable to determine if the outbreak began with a hospital staffer or patient. However, the hospital said the team found several areas of concern:
- Many patients were not masked during clinical care/interactions with staff
- Providers were inconsistent in their use of eye protection during patient encounters
- The first patient who tested positive had received an aerosol generating procedure prior to the positive test result
- A staff member with mild symptoms, consistent with historical seasonal allergies, did not appreciate those symptoms as potentially related to COVID-19 and continued to work
- Lack of physical distancing among staff while unmasked while eating
The hospital added that even though all patients are tested for Covid-19 on admission, it will re-test all current patients for the virus - and will offer voluntary testing to everybody who works at the hospital's main campus.
One of the affected units, 16A, has been shut for a deep cleaning and an inspection of its ventilation system. The other unit remains open, following a cleaning, because "our Infection Control team has documented a clear train of transmission and believes that it is safe to remain open." Patients in the unit who tested positive have been moved to a dedicated Covid-19 unit.