The number of COVID-19 cases linked to a coronavirus cluster at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston has increased.
The hospital announced Thursday that 19 patients and staff members had tested positive. As of Monday, there are a total of 42 cases connected to the outbreak.
"To date, 488 employees connected to the cluster have been tested with 30 testing positive," the hospital said in a statement. "All current inpatients are being tested for COVID-19, and this will be repeated every three days. This is in addition to the current hospital policy which requires testing for all patients upon admission and daily screening for symptoms. We have tested 581 patients across all inpatient areas, and 12 have tested positive. These 12 had been previously identified as connected to the cluster."
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Due to patient privacy concerns, the hospital said it was not able to provide any information on the conditions of the people who tested positive.
The hospital said it is working to make sure that others who may have been exposed are identified and tested. Any staff members who are symptomatic or have tested positive are being sent home immediately.
The cause of the cluster has not been determined. Brigham and Women's said it is investigating the source through contact tracing, testing and staff interviews.
"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 said.
Hospital officials believe the cluster was contained to two inpatient units and say it did not impact other parts of the hospital.
Admissions to the affected units were temporarily suspended and visitors were being restricted. The hospital said it is safe to visit other parts of the facility, but visitors are being restricted to certain areas.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Brigham and Women's reported the cluster to the state Department of Public Health immediately.
"We expect to work with them to chase down any additional cases that may have occurred," the governor said. "We'll do everything we can to support them to make sure the outbreak is contained."