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28 people linked to the COVID-19 cluster are in hospital so far

Brigham and Women’s Hospital are planning to retest all patients for COVID-19 in response to the growing number of confirmed cases associated with the facility, and hospital officials said, as of Friday, 19 staff members and 9 patients had tested positive for the virus. A further 600 individuals are associated with the cluster under test. In addition to testing all patients, officials said the hospital will offer free volunteer testing to all employees who have been working on campus since September 14. A source told WCVB that the hospital leadership has been asked to consider banning visitors from the facility. But this measure was not enacted by hospital officials on Friday. Hospital officials said no specific source of the outbreak had been identified, but that several potential contributing factors were possible. These include patients who experienced unconvincing interaction with employees, inconsistent use of eye protection, the patient who underwent an aerosol generation, and the employee who reported work despite symptoms consistent with their seasonal allergies and the lack of physical distance between employees while eating. Hospital officials wrote that our infection control team investigated the source of the block through extensive contact tracing, testing and employee interviews. “Based on the information we currently have, our infection control team is unable to determine if the source of the group is an employee or a patient.” As a result of the investigation, hospital officials said one floor of the Brownwald Tower is closed for complete cleaning, including the HVAC system. Another remains open but infected patients have been transferred to the COVID-19 unit. “It is important to note that our infection control team believes the group was contained in two designated inpatient units,” the officials said. “This group does not affect any other areas of our hospital or outpatient clinics.”

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Brigham and Women’s Hospital is planning to retest all patients for COVID-19 in response to the growing number of confirmed cases associated with the facility.

Starting Friday, the hospital Officials said 19 employees and 9 patients have tested positive for the virus. A further 600 individuals are associated with the cluster under test.

In addition to testing all patients, officials said the hospital will offer free, voluntary testing to all employees who have been working on campus since September 14.

A source told WCVB that the hospital leadership was asked to consider banning visitors from the facility, but that this measure was not taken by hospital officials on Friday.

Hospital officials said no specific source of the outbreak had been identified, but that several potential contributing factors were possible. These included patients who experienced unconvincing employee interaction, inconsistent use of eye protection, a patient who underwent an aerosol generation, and an employee who reported work despite symptoms consistent with their seasonal allergies and a lack of physical distance between employees while eating.

“Our infection control team investigated the source of the block through extensive contact tracing, testing, and employee interviews,” hospital officials wrote. “Based on the information we currently have, our infection control team is unable to determine if the source of the group is an employee or a patient.”

As a result of the investigation, hospital officials said one floor of the Brownwald Tower is closed for complete cleaning, including the HVAC system. Another remains open but infected patients have been transferred to the COVID-19 unit.

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“It is important to note that the infection control team believes that the group was contained in two designated inpatient units,” the officials said. “This group does not affect any other areas of our hospital or outpatient clinics.”

Phil Schwartz

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