SAN FRANCISCO - Workers at San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital are urging the city to provide more personal protective equipment after health care workers there recently tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.
In addition to more gear like masks, the workers are also calling on the city to come up with a plan to keep them, as well as their families, further protected from exposure to COVID-19.
FILE - Protective N-95 face masks lie on a table at an office in Washington, DC. (Photo by EVA HAMBACH/AFP via Getty Images)
Members of Service Employees International Union Local 1021 are speaking out after San Francisco Public Health Department Director Grant Colfax on Monday acknowledged that two hospital workers tested positive for the virus and said the unit where they worked was under quarantine.
Colfax added the hospital's staff was getting "the best" protective gear and that patients at the facility there were being monitored on an hourly basis for symptoms.
"SEIU 1021 and our members stand with the Department of Public Health and the Mayor to fight this disease at Laguna Honda Hospital, and throughout all of DPH facilities, but we need resources and protective gear to be successful, and an affirmative plan from the city to thwart exposure," Theresa Rutherford, San Francisco SEIU 1021 president and nursing assistant at Laguna Honda, said in a statement.
Because Laguna Honda is a long-term care facility for the elderly -- one of the most vulnerable populations to COVID-19 -- hospital staff is asking for protective gear, including N95 masks, to all workers at the facility.
"Protective gear should be available to everyone that works at the facility -- from custodians, clerical staff, food service workers, health care workers as well as other workers such as law enforcement personnel who enter Laguna Honda during the course of their duties," Rutherford said.
The workers are also demanding testing for COVID-19 be available to all workers and patients who may have been exposed. "We require DPH's affirmative plan to ensure that an outbreak at SF's largest long-term care facility does not occur," Rutherford added.
Mayor London Breed on Monday said despite a nationwide shortage of PPE in hospitals, the city had acquired 1 million masks from Gov. Gavin Newsom, in addition to masks and gloves being donated by large private companies like Facebook.
Breed also mentioned a plan to house frontline workers, like health care workers, needing quarantine in hotels.