Employees at UC Davis Medical Center test positive for COVID-19

Employees at UC Davis Medical Center test positive for COVID-19

Photo Credits: DANIEL TAK / AGGIE FILE

UC Davis Health prepares for expected surge in coronavirus patients in the upcoming weeks 

Employees of UC Davis Health have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week, according to an internal email written by David Lubarsky, the CEO of UC Davis Health, that was obtained by The Sacramento Bee

One of the infected staff members is a 48-year-old emergency room nurse who wished to remain anonymous, according to The Bee. Despite Lubarsky’s stated confidence that the infected staff member contracted the virus in the community, the nurse believes she contracted COVID-19 at work from an elederly emergency room patient on March 15. In The Bee article, the nurse argued that emergency room personnel should be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) constantly in the upcoming weeks to prevent any possible virus transmission.

“Basically we’re walking into the virus itself,” she said in The Bee. “There’s a lot of evidence that suggests you can walk around with no symptoms at all and still spread the virus, so the idea that we can work in an emergency room and not have to gown up with (personal protective equipment) until we have a patient that meets certain criteria is, to me, preposterous. I think we should just always have the gowns and gloves available.”

In Lubarsky’s email, dated March 23, he warned that the UC Davis Medical Center (UCDMC) is expected to experience a surge in coronavirus cases in the upcoming weeks.

“Moving forward, the overwhelming majority of infections will be community-acquired, because we are all members of the community,” Lubarsky wrote. “And while we practice contact/droplet precautions here at work, we simply can’t be as protected outside of work.”

Lubarsky said UCDMC is taking proactive measures such as conserving PPE through online COVID-19 testing and utilizing closed dental offices for supplies, making more room in emergency rooms and intensive care units for additional patients as well as encouraging staff members to stay home if they are not feeling well.

Lubarsky emphasized that although coronavirus transmission is possible, the hospital must maintain its mission to treat all patients in need of essential procedures and surgeries, reminding staff that UC Davis Health follows national guidelines for “essential surgeries” developed by experts.

Written by: Hannah Blome — campus@theaggie.org