Brigham and Women's works to control COVID-19 cluster affecting 10 in med-surg units

Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital is working to curb the spread of COVID-19 after reporting a cluster of cases in two of its medical-surgical units, reports The Boston Globe. 

Five patients and five staff members have COVID-19, and the hospital is arranging testing for all those potentially exposed to the virus. Brigham and Women's hasn't provided information about the infected patients, but said all other patients on the affected units have tested negative. The hospital is also reaching out to patients discharged from the units to arrange testing.

Brigham and Women's thoroughly cleaned the affected area, stopped admissions to the two units and is limiting visitors, according to the hospital website.

"You have many ways this could be spreading," Trish Powers, a trauma unit nurse and chair of the Massachusetts Nurses Association's unit at Brigham, told the Globe. "They're desperately trying to contain it."

At least two employees with COVID-19 are nurses and both had symptoms, Ms. Powers said, adding that all patients had tested negative when they arrived at the hospital. Some patients tested positive in the hospital and others after they were discharged, according to Ms. Powers.

The infected patients who are still hospitalized were moved to a COVID-19 unit in another building, Ms. Powers said.

"The Brigham is committed to creating and maintaining a safe care environment by testing all patients admitted to the hospital, requiring staff to attest to their health daily before working, requiring all staff, patients and visitors to wear hospital-issued masks while on campus, insisting on frequent hand hygiene, frequently cleaning the environment, and enforcing appropriate physical distancing," the hospital's statement reads.

The hospital is still investigating how the cluster occurred.

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