Story at a glance

  • While there are currently no official numbers out on how many health care professionals have tested positive, the Washington Post reports the government has received reports of more than 60 infections among workers.
  • Two hundred health care workers in Connecticut and New York were put on leave after possible exposure.
  • At least 160 health workers in Massachusetts have been quarantined.

Dozens of health care professionals on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic have become ill with the coronavirus and more are quarantined after being exposed, according to the Washington Post

The virus is affecting health care workers across the country, especially in hard hit states such as Washington, California, New York, Massachusetts and elsewhere. 

“We all suspect it’s the tip of the iceberg,” Liam Yore, a board member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, told the Washington Post. 

“The risk to our health care workers is one of the great vulnerabilities of our health care system in an epidemic like that,” he said. “Most ERS and health care systems are running at capacity in normal times.” 

The Washington Post notes that gauging just how badly health care workers have been hit is difficult because nationwide data has yet to be released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), medical associations or health care worker unions at this time. 

The Post reports, however, that according to a federal official, the government has received reports of more than 60 infections among health care workers. More than a dozen are related to travel.


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Workers have been put at risk in the U.S. not only due to the nature of their jobs, but because of shortages of protective equipment such as face masks and the delay of the COVID-19 testing program in the U.S. 

At least 200 health care workers from Connecticut and New York were put on leave after possible exposure to COVID-19, while two doctors in New Jersey and Washington state are in critical condition after being exposed, according to Fox News

Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) told MSNBC Monday the 200 health care professionals who are possibly infected are employed by Nuvance Health, an interstate health system in New York and Connecticut that services several hospitals in the area. 

Lamont said the workers have not been able to get back to work due to a lack of coronavirus testing. 

“They can’t be tested to confirm whether they have the virus,” Lamont said.

In Pittsfield, Mass., 160 employees of Berkshire Medical Center have been quarantined at home due to exposure to positive patients, prompting the medical center to hire more than 50 nurses, according to The Berkshire Eagle

In other cases around the country, a provider tested positive at Johns Hopkins Medicine, and in Philadelphia, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children closed its intensive care unit to new patients and closed a trauma unit when a physician tested positive, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

More than 5,700 cases have been confirmed in the U.S. with at least 94 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

 

Published on Mar 17, 2020