Lifespan confirms ‘small’ number of employees have COVID-19

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island’s largest hospital group confirmed Tuesday night that some of its workers have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Lifespan spokeswoman Jane Bruno told Eyewitness News that a “small percentage” of Rhode Island’s 124 confirmed COVID-19 cases are individuals who work for the organization, which owns Rhode Island, Miriam, Newport and Bradley hospitals.

Lifespan had previously refused to reveal whether any of its employees had tested positive.

“It is unclear if these employees were exposed at the workplace or through travel or community transmission,” Bruno wrote in an email. “None of them have been hospitalized and all either recovered or are recovering at home.”

Bruno said Lifespan is in the process of completing contact tracing with the R.I. Department of Health and its employee health unit, and individuals who have been in close contact with the infected employees will be notified and screened.

She did not specify whether the employees are doctors or nurses who might have had contact with patients, or if they work at one of the hospitals.

“All Lifespan direct caregivers are wearing masks and are practicing extensive hand hygiene and taking all safety precautions to help prevent the spread of the virus,” Bruno said.

Lifespan is the state’s largest private employer, with more than 15,000 employees statewide.

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