(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

‘Outbreak’ expected at Laguna Honda Hospital after seven test positive for virus

The day after the first patient at Laguna Honda Hospital tested positive for the coronavirus, the head of the Department of Public Health said “we do expect an outbreak” there.

The patient tested positive for the virus Thursday, after six staff had previously tested positive at the department’s long-term care facility with about 750 patients.

“Coronavirus has arrived at Laguna Honda,” Dr. Grant Colfax, head of the Department of Public Health, said during a press conference Friday with Mayor London Breed. “Unfortunately this was not a surprise. The pattern of the disease clearly shows that long-term care facilities and their residents are particularly vulnerable to the disease and the spread.”

Colfax said that despite taking several measures to protect staff and patients from the virus before anyone tested positive, “I must say, and I am sad to say this, that we do expect an outbreak.”

“Our plan for the outbreak includes testing affected staff and residents, which is already underway,” Colfax said.

The San Francisco Examiner previously reported that the hospital plans to test about 150 staff from the two patient care units in the hospital where the staff who tested positive work, the South 5 neighborhood and the South 4 neighborhood. Each unit houses about 60 patients, who are now quarantined.

The patient who tested positive is in South 5 and was placed in isolation there.

“We have begun bringing in additional resources including staff and expertise on long-term care, infection control and infectious disease from our own DPH system but also reaching out to key partners including UCSF and Sutter Health to strengthen our response,” Colfax said.

Colfax said all seven “are in good condition.” He added that “contact investigations are underway, including testing, and those units have been quarantined.”

A staff member at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital also tested positive Thursday who provides patient care in the emergency department, Colfax said. He said the staff member is “now self isolating at home.”

“It is concerning to hear about these cases,” Colfax said. “It will continue to be concerning as the cases in San Francisco grow.”

Confirmed cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, increased by 56 Friday for a total of 279 and has claimed three lives.

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