Kaiser hospital officials announced Saturday that 43 emergency staff members at Kaiser Permanente in San Jose tested positive for COVID-19 between December 27 and January 1.
“Using our infection proven protocols, we are investigating the outbreak and using contact tracing to personally notify and test any staff or patients who were exposed during this time period based on CDC and public health guidelines,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
The hospital is investigating whether an incident in which a staff member appeared briefly in the emergency department on Christmas Day wearing an air-powered costume with a fan may have led to air droplets being spread around the hospital.
The hospital says it will no longer allow air-powered costumes at any facilities.
The hospital is working to quickly test all emergency department employees and doctors for the virus, and anyone who tests positive or who has symptoms will quarantine per CDC guidelines, hospital officials said.
The emergency department is undergoing a deep cleaning, and officials said that the hospital is open and safe for patients to receive care.
“Even as the vaccine is beginning to be provided in our communities, given the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community we are all still vulnerable and it remains critical for everyone to continue using the methods to help protect ourselves and others – especially masks, hand washing, avoiding gatherings, and social distancing,” the statement read.