18 University of Florida Health anesthesiologists get COVID-19 after private party

Eighteen anesthesiologists at Gainesville-based University of Florida Health were diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier in July after they attended a private party, reports Fresh Take Florida.

The cases — which include 14 junior residents, two senior residents, a fellow and an administrative employee — were reported to staff after the party, on July 10, in an email from Timothy Morey, MD, chair of anesthesiology at the university's college of medicine.

Dr. Morey told staff the 18 infected employees were recovering at home and that the anesthesiology department "wishes them well and a speedy return to good health," according to Fresh Take Florida, a news service operated by the university's college of journalism. 

The email comes as Florida is getting pummeled by the COVID-19 pandemic. On July 28, the state recorded its highest daily virus death toll, The Washington Post reports. 

When contacted by Becker's, the health system said it often cannot comment on specific situations due to state and federal privacy laws, and like any business, employees sometimes become ill. 

"As a healthcare system, we follow a variety of processes and protocols designed to reduce risk and the chances of that happening," the health system said in a written statement.  

To date, about 3.4 percent of the health system's employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, including some at UF Health Shands, the seven-hospital system based in Gainesville. Employees who are infected are barred from work until they are screened and retested with a negative test result, the health system said. 

"The vast majority of our employees who tested positive over the past few months appear to have acquired COVID-19 in the community, not in the hospital setting," according to the statement. "Most have been cleared to return to work, and at no time did this impact our ability to care for patients."

University of Florida Health also includes University of Florida Health Jacksonville medical center; University of Florida Health North; and an academic campus in Jacksonville, Fla., according to the organization's website. It has more than 26,500 employees. 



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