How often are hospital workers tested for COVID-19?

Investigations

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Nurses, doctors and other hospital workers are on the front lines of this pandemic, often treating COVID-19 patients up close.

One of these high-risk employees, an occupational therapist, tells KXAN she often works with virus patients on their mobility.

“This lady that I’d worked with that I remember, we just worked on sitting up,” she said as she recalled working with a patient. “It was a lot of work for her body, because she was very, very fatigued.”

The therapist, who asked that we not identify her, said she tested positive last Wednesday. She started feeling congested, with a fever, chills and body aches.

She tells us she was very sick when she learned her baby daughter had contracted the virus too.

“I was even asleep when I was getting all these phone messages of the baby is not doing well,” she said.

Having seen the virus spread through her family, she says she’d like to see workers on the front line be tested more frequently. She added at least one patient in her hospital who didn’t have the virus later contracted it after they were already admitted.

“It would give us peace of mind,” she said. It’s like, do I need to quarantine myself from my family or loved ones?”

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve heard from concerned employees about not having enough testing in hospitals.

Ascension hospitals, some of the largest hospitals in the area, recently expanded testing for employees.

“In order to give associates quicker answers about their symptoms and prevent unnecessary time off work, Ascension Texas recently made COVID-19 testing available to all associates, contingent workers, and providers who are showing symptoms of the virus or who have had a high-risk exposure to a patient who is under investigation,” an Ascension spokesperson told us in a statement.

A spokesperson for St. David’s Healthcare tells us “any employee experiencing symptoms can receive a COVID-19 test. Employees who experience a known work exposure are tested regardless of symptoms.” 

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