Patient Reports Positive COVID-19 Test After Visit to Kaiser Where Outbreak Occurred

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A patient says she tested positive for COVID-19 after visiting the emergency room at Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center, the site of a deadly outbreak that has infected at least 60 people.

The patient, who asked to be identified as Kathleen — not her real name — said on Dec. 28 she spent five hours in the emergency department at the hospital where she tested negative for COVID-19 before being admitted and undergoing surgery. Five days later, she was shocked when staff asked her to get a second COVID-19 test.

"On Saturday, I get the news from the staff that I have to retest for COVID because there was a minor exposure," Kathleen said.

The second time, she said she tested positive.

"I was just floored to find out that not only did I have to fight recovery but I had to fight COVID as well," she said.

While it is difficult to determine exactly how and where Kathleen contracted the virus, she believes the hospital should have done more to protect patients and inform them of the outbreak.

Kaiser is still investigating the outbreak but said it is likely the source of the exposure was an air-powered costume worn by an employee Christmas Day.

"It’s mind boggling that that was even allowed, that there was not cautiousness because of everything that's going on and that the hospital has a lot of vulnerable people," Kathleen said.

Kaiser said it has notified 70 patients who were in the emergency room Christmas Day about a possible exposure. Kaiser also said because of patient privacy it is not disclosing if any patients have tested positive.

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