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COVID-19 outbreak hits 36 at Baystate Medical Center

  • Workers construct a rapid response triage outside the Emergency Department at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield in March. STAFF FILE PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 7/28/2020 4:08:22 PM

SPRINGFIELD — Thirty-six people have tested positive for COVID-19 in an outbreak at Baystate Medical Center in a non-COVID-19 clinical unit, Baystate Health reported.

Baystate Health President and CEO Mark Keroack said Monday 13 positive patients and 23 positive employees have been identified related to the outbreak. Those who were treated in the unit from July 15 to July 23 have been contacted and are being tested.

Baystate has been testing employees who were working on the unit and tracing their contacts, as well as staffers who spent over 15 minutes on the unit during that time.

Keroack said in a statement that the outbreak was the result of several factors. Specifically, he noted that an employee had traveled to a COVID-19 “hotspot” and tested positive upon their return, and that employees were taking off masks and not properly social distancing in break rooms.

“These simple lapses were able to happen in spite of our screening employees for fever and other symptoms before every shift, mandating mask usage and social distancing throughout the facility,” Keroack said. “This event reinforces that COVID-19 is highly contagious and requires vigilance in order to contain its spread.”

The statement goes on to say that Baystate is committed to an ongoing review of safety practices and that it has introduced a policy of quarantine for any employee returning from a hotspot, in line with Gov. Charlie Baker’s restrictions that are set to take place on Aug. 1.

Additionally, the statemen says that Baystate has cared for more than 1,000 COVID-19 patients in its hospitals during the pandemic without any documented transmission to employees or patients until now.

Baystate has hospital locations in Palmer, Westfield, Springfield and Greenfield.

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