March 1, 2021



Fifteen Kaiser San Jose patients now Covid-19 positive after Christmas Day outbreak

SAN JOSE – The Christmas Day coronavirus outbreak at Kaiser Permanente San Jose continued to spread Tuesday – and hospital workers aren’t the only ones getting sick.

For the first time, 15 patients on Tuesday were added to the growing list of people infected after an employee traipsing through the emergency department in an inflatable tree costume Dec. 25 may have been a super spreader, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department announced.

The tally of positive COVID-19 cases also spiked among Kaiser employees to 77 on Tuesday, up from 60 last week, the county said. One worker, a receptionist, died a week or so after Christmas, although Kaiser hasn’t said exactly when.

When it came to the new numbers released Tuesday, Kaiser Permanente would only say that “we are trying to validate the numbers that the county provided.”

The news comes after the county fined Kaiser $ 43,000 last week for failing to immediately notify officials of the original 43 cases it made public more than a week later – levying a $ 1,000 penalty for each case.

Several agencies are investigating the outbreak, including the state Department of Public Health and Cal / OSHA and Santa Clara County. In a news release in early January, Kaiser suggested that a well-intentioned employee spreading holiday cheer may have been the source. The woman in the costume was showing no symptoms at the time but tested positive shortly after.