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The University of Florida (UF) Health refuses to confirm a group of COVID-19 infections in 17 residents, cohabitants and an administrative employee who reportedly contracted the disease at a private party.
The COVID cluster in the Gainesville-based system was born by the University News Service, Fresh Take Florida. According to a Fresh Take Report July 27, residents and co-workers – all members of the anesthesiology department – went to a party before July, which was attended by 20 to 30 other residents.
Department head Timothy E. Morey, MD, wrote to staff on July 10 to report the cases and said all victims were recovering at home, according to an email received from Fresh Take Florida. It is unclear whether residents and friends worked during the infection. Morey did not return a request for comment as of the hour of the press.
UF Health did not inform the public – something that should not have gone unnoticed, said Dr. Arthur Kaplan, Dr. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty, a professor of bioethics at New York University Langon Health (Kaplan is also a frequent participant in Medscape).
“If there is any chance of patients, visitors or the public getting in, the hospital would have to say that they have an outbreak and that they did it,” Kaplan said. Medscape Medical News. People should also be told they can be contacted to track the outbreak, he said.
Ross McKinney Jr., MD, chief researcher at the Association of American Medical Colleges, said this should be seen as a caveat. “This story illustrates the fact that everyone, regardless of age or profession, should be careful with COVID,” McKinney said. Medscape Medical News.
“Group meetings where people don’t wear masks, especially in tight spaces with loud conversations, are the perfect setting for a super-distributor event like this,” he said.
McKinney noted numerous direct and indirect consequences. In addition to being sick, residents or friends could put patients at risk if they were infected but were asymptomatic.
In addition, “the anesthesia department should now cover sick residents and young people who it believes will be available to work with patients,” he said, adding: “Everyone, especially those working in the healthcare sector, must take personal responsibility. “
Is disciplinary action justified?
Kaplan suggested that residents and comrades should be disciplined. “If they went to a party and did not adhere to social distancing and camouflage, and were indoors, they should discipline them,” he said, adding that the hospital should also “resume efforts to prevent COVID with everyone.”
Fresh Take Florida reports that the UF Department of Anesthesiology has almost 100 residents.
The health care system told Medscape Medical News that only a small number – about 3.4% – of its 12,000 employees received COVID. But when asked specifically about residents and fellows, the organization said in a statement: “State and federal privacy laws are such that we often cannot comment on specific situations, and, like any business, employees get sick on occasion.”
UV also stated that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should be guided by isolating all those who fell ill, and that this helps in the search for contacts. Workers are not allowed to return to work until they are screened and tested negatively, the health care system said.
“The vast majority of our workers who have tested positive over the past few months seem to have purchased COVID-19 in the community rather than in a hospital setting,” the health care system said, adding that most of them were given the right to return to work. and that there was no effect on patient care.
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