Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital announced Thursday that it has identified a coronavirus cluster including 19 patients and staff members in two of its medical-surgical units.
"To date, 98 employees have been tested with 11 testing positive. Fifty patients have been tested with eight positive. This brings the total cases in the cluster to 19," read a statement from the hospital. "There are 445 individuals who are in the process of being tested, and we expect this number to continue to grow as positive cases are identified."
Due to patient privacy concerns, the hospital said it was not able to provide any information on the conditions of the people who tested positive.
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All patients still being cared for in the affected units tested negative.
The hospital said it is working to make sure that others who may have been exposed are identified and tested. Any staff members who are symptomatic or have tested positive are being sent home immediately.
The cause of the cluster has not been determined. Brigham and Women's said it is investigating the source through contact tracing, testing and staff interviews.
"The Brigham is committed to creating and maintaining a safe care environment by testing all patients admitted to the hospital, requiring staff to attest to their health daily before working, requiring all staff, patients and visitors to wear hospital-issued masks while on campus, insisting on frequent hand hygiene, frequently cleaning the environment, and enforcing appropriate physical distancing," the hospital said.
Admissions to the affected units have been temporarily suspended and visitors are being restricted. The hospital said it is safe to visit other parts of the facility, but visitors are being restricted to certain areas.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Brigham and Women's reported the cluster to the state Department of Public Health immediately.
"We expect to work with them to chase down any additional cases that may have occurred," the governor said. "We'll do everything we can to support them to make sure the outbreak is contained."