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.

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