More than 5,000 hospital-acquired COVID-19 cases reported since mid-May, CDC says

Despite hospitals' best infection control efforts, a small portion of COVID-19 patients in the U.S. are contracting the virus inside healthcare facilities, according to CDC data obtained by The Wall Street Journal. 

Between May 14 and June 21, hospitals nationwide reported 5,142 COVID-19 cases involving patients who likely got the virus inside their facilities. Nationwide, more than 2.9 million Americans have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic started. 

The actual figure may be higher, since reporting is voluntary, the Journal noted. The figure also only includes hospital-acquired cases involving patients, as the CDC hasn't publicly shared data on hospital employees.

University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago reported more than 260 cases among staff and four deaths between March and mid-June. While the hospital cannot confirm how employees contracted COVID-19, it's likely the virus spread inside the hospital, according to Susan Bleasdale, MD, director of infection prevention and control. UIC's infection control team conducted contact tracing for employee cases and investigated the four deaths, but Dr. Bleasdale declined to share specific findings to protect the employees' privacy.

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