At least 233 staffers at a pair of San Francisco hospitals have tested positive for COVID-19, the majority of whom were fully vaccinated but became infected with the delta variant.
Fifty-five cases were discovered among staff members at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital as of July 31, Cristina Padilla, a public relations officer at the hospital, told The Hill. Of those who tested positive, roughly 75 to 80 percent were fully vaccinated, according to The New York Times. More than 7,000 staff members reportedly work at the facility.
The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center, said 183 staff members had tested positive as of Friday, 153 of whom were fully vaccinated, the Times reported.
Most of the infections were reportedly from the highly infectious delta variant, which has taken hold in the U.S. as the dominant COVID-19 strain.
Two of the infected staff members from UCSF Medical Center were hospitalized, according to the Times.
Padilla told The Hill that none of those who tested positive at San Francisco General required hospitalization. Most of the infections caused mild to moderate symptoms, according to the Times.
Asymptomatic cases were also detected through contact tracing. The infections were predominately spread through community exposure, according to Padilla.
The Hill reached out to the UCSF Medical Center for comment.
The hospital’s chief medical officer, Lukejohn Day, told the Times that the cases would be far worse if staff members were not vaccinated.
“We’re concerned right now that we’re on the rise of a surge here in San Francisco and the Bay Area,” Day said. “But what we’re seeing is very much what the data from the vaccines showed us: You can still get COVID, potentially. But if you do get it, it’s not severe at all.”
Padilla sounded a similar note, writing that vaccinations are effective at averting hospitalizations and deaths.
“Breakthrough cases were and still are expected. We know vaccines won’t completely prevent infections, but they are very effective at making hospitalizations and death preventable,” she told The Hill.
The city of San Francisco mandated that workers in high-risk workplaces, such as hospitals, be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 15. In a statement revealing the infections, UCSF Medical Center said it was “doubling down on our efforts to protect our staff. This includes requiring all employees and trainees to comply with the new UC-systemwide Covid-19 vaccination mandate, with limited exceptions for medical or religious exemptions,” the newspaper reported.
The cluster of cases at the San Francisco hospitals comes as concerns are rising regarding the delta variant, especially with the country’s vaccination rate plateauing.
Breakthrough cases, or infections detected in fully vaccinated individuals, are still rare throughout the U.S.
Of the more than 164.2 million people who have been fully inoculated, only 125,682 breakthrough cases have been reported in 38 states, according to data collected by NBC News.
That number translates to less than 0.08 percent, the network noted.
Updated 4:10 p.m.