Following a recent visit to a COVID-19 hotspot by an employee, a coronavirus virus emerging at a Massachusetts hospital, is of precise concern that a leading infectious disease specialist is ahead of the Bay State for college students.
More than 30 people have tested positive for the virus as a result of an outbreak at Springfield’s Baystate Medical Center, Bystate Health president and CEO Mark Kerak announced at a press conference on Monday.
He said that thirteen patients and 23 employees tested positive in a non-COVID unit. One of the hospital’s staffers recently traveled to a state coronovirus hotspot.
A prominent infectious disease specialist at Boston University said he is “quite concerned” about repeating himself in Massachusetts as the virus grows in many parts of the country, including the South and West.
“The possibility of introduction from other parts of the country, which is a greater prevalence of active infections, is a major concern,” said Davidson Hammer, a professor at Boston University’s School of Public Health and School of Medicine.
“Students are coming here soon for college, and that’s definitely a big concern,” said Hammer, a physician at Boston Medical Center.
Beginning August 1 in Massachusetts, people from out of state require quarantine for 14 days unless they are coming from a state with a low infection rate, or they can produce a negative test. Passengers who fail to comply with the new order will face fines of up to $ 500 per day.
The hospital’s CEO said that there were simultaneous staff members in the break room removing their masks without adhering to the social distancing protocol, a factor spread across the Bystate Health cluster.
“These simple flaws were able to occur despite our screening staff for fever and other symptoms before every shift, due to the use of masks and social disturbances throughout the facility.”
“We know that there is no guarantee that this virus cannot spread even if precautions are taken,” he said. “Asymptomatic people can shed the virus and those who feel they are in an area without the virus can release their guard from time to time with dire consequences.
“We’ve seen this in many other areas across the country as well,” Kerack said. “This incident confirms that COVID-19 is highly contagious and requires vigilance to prevent its spread.”
Bystate Health reaches all patients caring for the unit from 15 to 23 July.
The hospital is also testing and liaising employees working on the unit, as well as employees who have spent more than 15 minutes on the unit.
For patients who test positive, they are tracing contacts in collaboration with the state public health department and local boards of health.
“We are deeply disappointed that this outbreak has occurred,” Carek said. “And we are committed to continuous review of our security practices to ensure that they are aligned with current guidelines and science.”