Good Sam Waited a Week to Alert Public About Coronavirus Contact

Five employees from Good Samaritan Hospital are quarantined at home after being potentially exposed to the novel coronavirus.

The news, which the hospital publicized Tuesday—seven days after the suspected exposure—came just days after the Santa Clara County Public Health Department confirmed the second local case of the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China and has infected more than 24,000 people world-wide.

The news took patients, visitors and staff members by surprise, and people inside the hospital reacted with shock at the lack of information.

On Jan. 28, a Good Sam patient—who eventually tested positive for the virus—walked into the hospital’s San Jose emergency room, according to a Tuesday news release. The patient wore a mask during the entire visit and public health officials sent the person home to self-isolate. With the help of the Centers for Disease Control, the county health department conducted an investigation to see who the patient might have exposed.

The five hospital employees were notified on February 3, six days after the contact, according to county health system Public Information Officer Joy Alexiou. They were placed on paid leave and directed to self-isolate for a week.

Health care workers may have seen other patients after the possible exposure, but county health has only notified members of the public who may have been present in the emergency room at the time the infected patient was there. Contact “doesn’t mean they are infectious, ” Alexiou said. “We’re doing this out an abundance of caution.”

Good Samaritan chief spokesman Christopher D. Brown declined to comment beyond the written statement and referred all questions to county health officials.

“It is important to note that the action taken by public health does not mean any of these employees will contract the virus as the risk is extremely low,” according to the news release, which is pasted in full below.

Good Samaritan Hospital is a safe location to provide and receive care.

A patient, now identified as positive for the novel (new) coronavirus, briefly sought care in Good Samaritan Hospital’s Emergency Department on Jan. 28. Since this was the second location where the patient sought care, he was already familiar with proper precautions and was wearing a mask during the entire duration he was present in our hospital. Upon evaluation, treatment and consultation with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, it was determined that the patient should self-isolate at home.

As a result of the confirmed case, the public health department conducted a “contact investigation.” Out of an abundance of caution and for the community’s safety, the public health department has directed five employees to self-isolate at home until Feb. 11. These employees will be closely monitored by the department and placed on paid leave by Good Samaritan until the isolation period concludes. It is important to note that the action taken by public health does not mean any of these employees will contract the virus as the risk is extremely low.

Good Samaritan, as part of HCA Healthcare, has been working in tandem with the CDC and locally with the public health department on proactive preparedness precautions at the earliest stages of the outbreak of the novel (new) corona virus in China. Good Samaritan Hospital continuously provides the latest updates, education and PPE (personal protective equipment) supplies to our staff to ensure their safety and prevent contraction of the virus.

For additional questions about the investigation, please contact the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

Maury Kendall, a spokesman for the county health department, said patients and visitors who were in the emergency room when the infected patient arrived were alerted about the potential exposure as part of the investigation.

Both of the people in Santa Clara County who have fallen ill with the coronavirus had recently traveled to Wuhan. However, Dr. Sara Cody, the health officer and director for the county, said on Sunday that the risk to the public remains low and that there’s no reason to believe the virus is circulating in the community.

Two cases in San Benito County were also confirmed Sunday afternoon—a husband and wife, both of whom are both 57-years-old.

“The husband recently traveled from Wuhan, China the wife did not,” Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, San Benito County's health officer said at a Sunday evening press conference. “Therefore, there has been person-to-person transmission.”

As of Wednesday, 11 cases had been confirmed in the U.S. with California, Arizona, Washington, Illinois and Massachusetts all reporting patients with the virus.

Local health officials in Silicon Valley are encouraging people who have recently been to China and feel sick to avoid contact with others and contact their doctor’s office or emergency room to report their symptoms.

This article was updated at 3:50pm Feb. 5  from an earlier version.

Grace Hase is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @grace_hase.

3 Comments

  1. “Since this was the second location where the patient sought care, he was already familiar with proper precautions and was wearing a mask during the entire duration he was present in our hospital. ”

    Do we know where the first location was where the patient sought care?

    • Good Samaritan are the most unsanitary unethical for-profit hospital there is. I’m about to take you down HCA for the horrible treatment I received on March 3rd And the assaulted on March 13thn.when I was exposed to the nurses who were exposed and you never even separated us or put me in a hospital bed Or most of us in a bed for that matter. we were all stuck in a room together for the first hour I was there puking on others
      coughing on each other you guys are so f*****d when I went back to get my records on Friday the 13th your nurse in your emergency department Recognized me for going over her head to your emergency room department manager. I was there as a visitor and ran right into the nurse who was abusive Omar has 3rd and she assaulted me and reinjured my already severely injured right shoulder hog tied my right arm look like I was a hardened. criminal . I went straight to my lawyers office. Oh heads up, I work for the media , that’s right a San Jose tv show. granted it’s a local company that only has 1 million viewers but my affiliates cover the whole friggin Bay Area.HCA killed my father you’re not gonna yo kill me!!!!! you are such a xenophobic hospitals And I was treated like a dog and I’m a blue-eyed blond. .You treated me like the scum of the earth so I feel for my Hispanic brothers and sisters in this community how dare you how dare you how dare you!!!! first do no harm!!! Glad I’m doing my own little private investigating with your company I would’ve never known anything about HCA or the multitude and billions of dollars HCA I had been sued for. A $7 trillion company has been sued Billions and they still don’t care.I’ve never connected the dots that HCA owned San Jose medical the hospital that killed my father like I said you are now about to face The strongest toughest woman You will ever meet.you took my dad away from his five children and I have Not had my Dad for 30 years now. Last week when I came in to get my records on 30 year anniversary of his death I was assaulted at Good Samaritian for taking a picture . today St. Patrick’s Day is the anniversary of his burial I will leave no stone unturned I will take you down!!!! San Jose please get behind me I’m about to take one for the team and the city To save a life (maybe your father or parent)!so they don’t kill them too. The woman tried to break my arm she knows it’s why I was there at the hospital because I was thought I was leaking spinal fluid after having a block on my shoulder that’s what was making me nauseous she had my records I brought my MRIs so she tried to injure my right shoulder and arm. other nurses were screaming “she works for the media she works for the media”’and apologizing. Approximately 5 to 6 hours later I went back and they gave me my phone back but they tried to embarrass me and belittle me so I wouldn’t talk so I guess assaulting me and putting me in a police hold in the hospital claiming taken a picture of the nurses station was illegal I have the picture there’s nobody even in the picture you sons of bitches.First do no harm. Even on March third when I was there I told you were a pandemic waiting to happen and if the Corona virus hit this area and their hospital we were all screwed. Well guess what I was right! You’re going to kill more people than you save unless something is done immediately. Please any news organization contact me the local news I’ve already contacted you know who I am I know the pandemic is of upmost importance but saving lives is at the bottom of all of this and isolating people with the pandemic from people who do not have it luckily I’ve been on symptomatic then I better from the headaches and I’m ready to fight. Erin go braugh💪

  2. Observation:
    I re-read the paragraph:
    “were alerted about the potential exposure as part of the investigation.” Thereby alerting after the fact and NOT concurrently when the infected person was entering the building, but only after upon investigations leading to The Who and When and then and only then did the exposed learn of their quandary, approx (6) days after being exposed to the infected person.

    Did the exposed visitors also then receive instructions to self Quarantine? I assume they did not and are free in the wild so to speak. Unless I am missing something.

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