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Coronavirus in Tampa: Infusion center worker among 6 TGH employees who tested positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Six employees at Tampa General Hospital have tested positive for the coronavirus, including one worker at the hospital’s infusion center, 8 On Your side has learned.

In an initial statement, a hospital spokeswoman said the six employees who tested positive included people in both clinical and non-clinical roles.

8 On Your Side later learned exclusively from hospital sources that one of the employees who tested positive worked in Tampa General’s infusion center. The hospital later confirmed that information in a statement, adding that the infusion center will temporarily close.

“The center will reopen Friday, March 27 after being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with the addition of ultraviolet light as the final step,” a hospital spokeswoman said.

Patients at the infusion center would have compromised immune systems, including cancer and dialysis patients. Health officials have said those individuals are most at-risk when it comes to coronavirus.

All of the infected workers were immediately sent home to self-isolate. Tampa General Hospital has a tight infection control and follow-up program.

CDC guidelines require patients be notified and contact tracing be completed. Hospital officials say they are contacting all patients who visited the center during the time the infected employee was working. Other employees who may have had contact with the person are also being notified.

Tampa General Hospital has set up a phone number for infusion center patients to call with questions. The number is (813) 844-7585.

John Couris, the president and CEO of TGH, said all team members and doctors are being screened when they enter the hospital and tested when appropriate.

“As we anticipated, we are seeing COVID-19 travel and community spread,” he said in a statement. “We will continue to do our best to care for our community while protecting our team members, physicians, patients and visitors throughout this global pandemic.”

8 On Your Side spoke with Jay Wolfson, a Public Health professor at USF Health about this case.

“They’re exposed more than anybody else,” said Wolfson.

Wolfson says as the virus continues to spread, we will see more health care workers contract COVID-19.

“You, I and each one of your viewers is really the front line of defense protecting themselves and everybody else every single day,” said Wolfson.

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