Laguna Honda Hospital Outbreak Triggers Widespread Testing

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San Francisco public health officials on Thursday ordered testing of 150 Laguna Honda hospital staff amid an outbreak of coronavirus that has so far infected one resident, two hospital cleaners and four nurses across two wings of the elder and disabled care facility.

The resident who tested positive is now in isolation. The resident had been housed in the South Five Neighborhood, a wing where three of the infected nurses also tested positive.

One nurse in nearby South Four have also tested positive, officials say, along with two housekeeping workers.

The two wings are now under strict lockdown, health officials say, and at least three of the nurses will be questioned in detail about all their contacts.

“We have taken a number of steps to protect our community and to respond to COVID-19,” Laguna Honda said in a statement. “We have restricted non-essential visitors, screened staff for illness at the start of each shift and improved infection control.”

But nurses and other medical workers across the city complained about scarce personal protective equipment, like masks, earlier Thursday.

“It is a critical situation -- we don’t want to be unwittingly spread this virus as we work,” said Deanna Chan, a union leader and occupational therapist at Laguna Honda. She says stress is running high at the facility. “We want to make sure that all the front line workers have access to the correct kind of PPE.”

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In a notice to Laguna Honda staff earlier Thursday, the director assured the staff that the hospital currently has “all the necessary personal protective equipment” and “supplies required for us to continue caring for residents safely.”

Meanwhile, 27 investigators and staff of the police department’s special victims unit remain under quarantine, after two officers tested positive.

The development prompted the head of the police union to write to Mayor London Breed demanding that SFPD officers be tested for the COVID-19 virus on demand, given that dozens of officers may have been exposed.

“This is the tip of the iceberg,” said union president Tony Montoya, who warned the mayor that the force “cannot sustain” losing hundreds of officers like NYPD and “still protect the safety of San Franciscans.”

So far, the mayor’s office has not responded.

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