12 OHSU staff test positive for coronavirus, more tests pending
Twelve OHSU Hospital staff have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the hospital's president.
As of Sunday, March 29, the 12 were out of 846 nurses, doctors and other staff who were tested, President Danny Jacobs said Monday, March 30, during a press conference thrown by health care unions to emphasize the shortage of of the masks, gloves, gowns and other safety equipment needed to protect them from contracting the virus.
The number reflects the risks doctors, nurses and other clinicians are taking in treating patients with the highly infectious virus, Jacobs said. The number also illustrates the importance of adequate personal protective equipment.
"People are our priority," Jacobs said. "Our workforce deserves more."
OHSU Hospital has ramped up its in-housing coronavirus testing in the last two weeks, which could account for part of the spike. Employees at OHSU Hospital have been able to access drive-through testing if they had symptoms of coronavirus. Weeks ago, a hospital spokeswoman said leaders hoped to expand that capacity.
On March 16, the hospital had only one patient with confirmed COVID-19, but had tested 23 others and were waiting on results. Monday, Jacobs said that the hospital has 21 COVID-19 patients, with 18 of those tested on site.
The gathered public officials on the conference call included Gov. Kate Brown, Sen. Jeff Merkley and U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici. When asked how many health care workers statewide have tested positive or are suspected-positive, none had an answer.
This Oregonian/OregonLive story is shared as part of a local media project to increase COVID-19 news coverage.
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