Hospitals, Nursing Homes Fail to Separate COVID Patients, Putting Others at Risk

Nurses at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center were on edge as early as March when patients with COVID-19 began to show up in areas of the hospital that were not set aside to care for them.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had advised hospitals to isolate COVID patients to limit staff exposure and help conserve high-level personal protective equipment that’s been in short supply.

Yet COVID patients continued to be scattered through the Oakland hospital, according to complaints to California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health. The concerns included the sixth-floor medical unit where veteran nurse Janine Paiste-Ponder worked.

COVID patients on that floor were not staying in their rooms, either confused or uninterested in the rules. Staff was not provided highly protective N95 respirators, said Mike Hill, a nurse in the hospital intensive care unit and the hospital’s chief representative for the California Nurses Association, which filed

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