January 6, 2021

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has identified a cluster of COVID-19 cases on a patient care unit at Ohio State East Hospital. The medical center has notified Columbus Public Health and is working with them to investigate and implement interventions.

Twenty-seven staff who worked on the patient care unit between Dec. 20, 2020, and Jan. 1, 2021, have tested positive, a number that represents about 2% of East Hospital’s 1,200 employees. An initial review by the medical center has found that a staff member came to work with COVID-19 symptoms at the beginning of the cluster. Six patients who were on the unit at the time have also tested positive after testing negative on admission to the hospital.

“We take this incident very seriously. We are conducting contact tracing and testing all staff and patients who spent significant time on the unit during that timeframe,” said Dr. Andrew Thomas, chief clinical officer at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “We are reviewing all infection control measures with our staff and, as always, strongly encourage vigilance in wearing masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing, monitoring for any symptoms of COVID-19 and not reporting to work when they have symptoms, no matter how mild they may seem.”

The medical center epidemiology and clinical leadership teams have taken steps to prevent further spread of COVID-19 at the 236-bed facility, such as offering asymptomatic testing to staff on the unit and reinforcing cleaning and disinfection protocols. Based on the information presently available, the infection cluster appears to be confined to the single unit.

The medical center is conducting a thorough review of this matter to determine any enhancements to our COVID-prevention protocols to help prevent any future similar scenarios.

The health and safety of our patients, staff and the community is of utmost importance to all of us at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. We thank our faculty and staff for their dedication to following COVID-19 protocols and working together to stop this virus.


Media Contact: Marti Leitch, Wexner Medical Center Public Affairs and Media Relations, 614-293-3737, Marti.Leitch@osumc.edu

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