Kaiser San Jose hit with huge fine months before fines were issued in deadly Christmas outbreak

Kaiser San Jose Hit With Huge Fine Months Before Deadly Christmas Outbreak. Photo Credit: thrive.kaiserpermanente.org
By Wesley Severson - Published on January 12, 2021.

Kaiser Permanente in San Jose has been dealing with the aftermath of a deadly outbreak in its Emergency Department that started Christmas morning and now we are learning it also paid a hefty price for similar allegations months before.

According to NBC Bay Area, Cal/OSHA fined Kaiser San Jose $85,000 in November for not immediately reporting a serious case of coronavirus that was suffered by one of their staff members who ended up hospitalized for a week at the end of March.

There were also other violations racked up by the facility that contributed to the large fine that were not publicly listed.

That fine is on top of a $43,000 fine that Kaiser San Jose was hit with last week for the deadly debacle on Christmas morning when a Kaiser staff member dressed up in an inflatable costume that required a fan.

The costume may have inadvertently spread the virus across the Emergency Department while the person inside was simply trying to bring Christmas cheer to overworked staff.

The Mercury News reports, Cal/OSHA fined the South San Jose hospital $1,000 for each of the 43 original staff member cases that were reported in a news release on January 3rd. 

That news release also indicated that one worker had died from the outbreak and to make matters even worse, it was how the Santa Clara Department of Public Health ended up learning about the incident.

So far, Kaiser has not commented directly on why it didn’t tell the county about the outbreak when positive cases first started popping up 2 to 3 days later only saying it simply did not understand the rules about reporting.

KTVU reports that the outbreak has now grown to at least 73 employees and that Kaiser San Jose claims it has contacted 74 patients who were likely exposed on Christmas Day.

But that may not be true. KTVU claims a woman named Joan Buriani is now the second Kaiser patient to come forward to say she never received a phone call from Kaiser after getting treated in the Emergency Department on Christmas day and witnessing the holiday celebration.

Buriani and her husband who was with her that day tested positive 11-days after the treatment, the other patient’s test was negative. Both say they learned about the outbreak by watching the news and not from Kaiser.

NBC Bay Area posted Kaiser’s full statement which disputes the claims and Cal/OSHA says it is still investigating other possible exposures and complaints against Kaiser San Jose from Christmas day.

1 day ago
San Jose

New coronavirus variant spreading through Santa Clara County, linked to Kaiser outbreak

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department held a press conference Sunday to announce that the area is dealing with the growing threat of a new coronavirus variant that appears to be the source of several outbreaks in the county. Read More

Jan 14, 2021
San Jose

Santa Clara celebrates long-time resident Esperanza Castellanos' 107th birthday

Esperanza “Hope” Castellanos of Santa Clara celebrated her 107th birthday this week with help from family, friends and city officials. Read More

Jan 13, 2021
San Jose

After months of delay, Holy Cannoli Bakery and Café opens in San Jose

San Jose’s Holy Cannoli opened its first café this week, where it's serving up its namesake Sicilian sweets, alongside to-go meals and coffee drinks. Read More

Jan 12, 2021
San Jose

Elected GOP figure in Santa Clara County called out for posting 'Citizens take arms' on Facebook

Phil Reynolds, an elected member of the Santa Clara County Republican Central Committee, is under pressure from Democratic leaders in Santa Clara to resign after posting "The war has begun!" on Facebook while the pro-Trump rioters were breaking into the Capitol Building in Washinton, D.C. last week. Read More