Contact tracing underway after Boston hospital detects COVID-19 cluster

BOSTON (WHDH) - Contact-tracing efforts are underway after a COVID-19 cluster was recently detected at a hospital in Boston, officials announced Thursday.

The cluster includes eight patients and 11 staff members at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a spokesperson said in a statement.

The positive coronavirus cases are said to be linked to two inpatient units in the hospital.

“Through an intensive tracing process, our experts are working closely with all involved to ensure that others who may have been exposed are identified and tested,” the hospital said.

The Brigham currently tests all patients who are admitted to the hospital, while staffers are required to attest to their health before reporting to work.

When asked about the cluster, Gov. Charlie Baker said, “We expect to work with them and their infectious disease specialists to chase down any additional cases that may have occurred as a result of that particular outbreak. Then we will do everything to support them with isolation and quarantine to make sure that the outbreak is contained.”

Doctor Shira Doron, an infectious disease expert at Tufts Medical Center, said while hospital infections are rare — some are unavoidable.

But, she said hospitals are among the safest places to visit because of strict hygiene protocols in place.

“Every single person in the hospital is wearing a medical-grade mask. So one that has been approved and proven to provide source control and containment of virus in case the wearer has COVID 19. Hand hygiene protocol is meticulous, you can’t go into a room to take care of a patient without cleaning your hands before or after,” Doron said.

Nearly 450 people are still awaiting the results of their tests. Hospital officials said they expect the number of cases to grow.

The hospital is also arranging for recently discharged patients to get tested.

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