2 South Bay Hospital Employees Test Positive for COVID-19: Sources

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Two Good Samaritan Hospital employees are among the surging number of confirmed South Bay COVID-19 cases, according to employees at the hospital.

One of the employees, a lab worker, was placed on a ventilator after falling ill, according to those sources.

A Good Samaritan nurse also tested positive and is currently self-isolating at home, they said.

Meanwhile, one employee told NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit the log book of hospital staff possibly exposed to the virus continues to grow. Employees potentially exposed to coronavirus are required to sign in and document their temperature at the beginning of each shift.

Like most Bay Area hospitals, Good Samaritan is ramping up for a potential surge in patients.

Santa Clara County has 375 confirmed coronavirus patients as of Tuesday, the most among Bay Area Counties by a long shot. Statewide, the county trails only Los Angeles County in confirmed cases.

Good Samaritan said medical privacy laws prohibit the hospital from commenting on specific cases, but a spokesperson said all hospitals are dealing with potential infections and potential shortages of medical personnel.

At this point, the spokesperson said employee absences are not affecting patient care.

In a statement, the hospital said:

We are testing those with symptoms in emergency situations and admitted to the ER as outlined by the CDC. We’re monitoring our staff every day at entry for temperature screenings before the start their shift and during their shift if needed for any signs of fever. We’re asking any staff showing any symptoms or feeling ill to stay home and we continue to check in on their health. These nurses and doctors are vital to the care of patients and community right now and we take their well-being very seriously.”

NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit reported Monday that Bay Area hospitals could face significant shortages in overall hospital beds, ICU beds, and critical life-saving equipment, according to projections released last week by the Harvard Global Health Institute.

While hospitals scramble to increase bed capacity, California Hospital Association President and CEO Carmela Coyle said in an interview last week that bolstering staff is equally critical.

“The real issue that we have to think about is not just the physical capacity available in hospitals, but of course, that human capacity,” Coyle said. “The nurses. The doctors. The other caregivers that we will need.”

For weeks, nurses across the Bay Area have been sounding the alarm about staffing shortages and an inadequate supply of personal protective equipment, equipment they say is vital to their safety.

In a statement Tuesday, the California Nurses Association said safeguarding nurses is critical in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

“Nurses want all hospitals, other health care facilities, and health care employers to be prepared for Covid-19 patients. If nurses aren't safe, patients aren't safe. Nurses deserve protection while doing their job and if they aren't protected, this virus will spread even faster and impact our healthcare system's ability to respond.”

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