COVID-19 sidelines over 100 New Jersey hospital workers

Hackensack Meridian Health's Ocean Medical Center in Brick, N.J., is battling a COVID-19 outbreak that has sidelined more than 100 employees, according to NJ Advance Media.

The news outlet reported the outbreak Dec. 1, citing a Nov. 20 memo posted on Hackensack Meridian Health's website that has been removed.

"More than 100 of our team members are out of work at one hospital after several of our colleagues socialized outside of work and then unknowingly exposed both other colleagues, and patients to COVID-19," the memo stated.

Hospital spokesperson Benjamin Goldstein did not give more details to Becker's about the number of employees affected or when and how the outbreak was identified. The outbreak has not affected patient care at Ocean Medical Center or any other Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals, and all medical services are open, he said. 

"We continue to have adequate staffing and follow all rigorous safety protocols established by the CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health," said Mr. Goldstein. "This includes increased daily COVID-19 testing of team members in any of our units with a greater probability or incidence of confirmed cases. Greater surveillance of team members better enables us to identify those who are asymptomatic but test positive and ensure they rest at home."

He also said visitation with hospitalized patients has been suspended, with some exceptions; patients are tested for COVID-19 on admission and serial tested when they stay for more than two days; and employees who test positive are required to self-quarantine at home.

Overall, less than 1.5 percent of Hackensack Meridian Health's 36,000-member workforce was out of work as of Dec. 1 for issues related to COVID-19, Mr. Goldstein said.


More articles on workforce:
Many facilities did not report healthcare worker deaths during pandemic, KHN analysis shows
California calls for weekly testing of all hospital workers
Health systems launch efforts to assure healthcare workers about COVID-19 vaccination

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