Covid outbreak at California hospital may have been caused by inflatable costume


Dozens of health workers also tested positive and after an employee wore an inflatable suit, one has died.

As a potential cause of a coronavirus outbreak – and at least one virus-related death – an inflatable costume worn at Christmas to cheer up patients is being investigated at a Northern California hospital. According to a statement from the hospital, at least 44 emergency department staff at Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center tested positive for the virus between Dec. 27 and Jan. 3. An emergency department employee who served for Christmas has died of 19 complications from Covid. The hospital is investigating whether the fan might have scattered droplets on a “air-powered” suit.

“On Christmas Day, a staff member had briefly worn the costume in the emergency room. Any exposure would have been completely innocent and accidental, as the individual had no covid symptoms and just tried to “raise the spirits of those around her during a very stressful period,” said the hospital. “If anything, this should serve as a very real reminder that the virus is common, and often withoutou “California Crosses 25,000 Coronavirus Deaths in Worst Month YetRead MoreSanta Clara County, home to San Jose, has only 27 intensive care unit (ICU) beds available for all of its 1.9 million residents.

Hospitals in this area are, as in the rest of the state, overwhelmed by the recent surge.

Marco Randazzo, a Santa Clara emergency room doctor, said Dec. 31 that some hospitals in the area were forced to take care of ICU patients in the emergency room because their ICUs were complete. “The only way to transfer a patient to the ICU is often if a covid patient has died,” Randazzo said at a news conference.


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