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14 UW Medicine workers test positive for coronavirus

Coronavirus was likely transmitted from healthcare worker to healthcare worker at UW Medicine's northwest campus.

SEATTLE — Fourteen UW Medicine employees tested positive for coronavirus at the northwest campus.

The transmission is believed to have occurred over several days at the end of March and was most likely transmitted from healthcare worker to healthcare worker, UW Medicine said. 

All COVID-19 positive employees, who represent a range of job positions from nurses to therapists, are at home recovering in stable condition. 

The unit has been deep-cleaned and sanitized.

Since March 23, all UW Medicine staff are required to attest before each shift that they do not have a fever or other symptoms of acute respiratory infection before being allowed to work, according to UW Medicine.

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All patients admitted to Harborview Medical Center and UW Medical Center's Montlake and Northwest campuses are also now being tested for COVID-19. This is a change from the previous policy in which only those patients with COVID-19 symptoms were tested, according to the university.

Harborview Medical Center is a Level 1 trauma center, in addition to providing other medical services.

The university said the change was due to information about people testing positive without having symptoms. Hospital officials say it's important to know the status of every patient so clinicians and staff can safely care for them. The hospitals are also able to do this because of same-day turnaround times with testing capability at the UW Medicine Virology Lab. 

There have been at least 582,590 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 5 a.m. PDT Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. Of those, 23,649 have died and 44,308 have recovered. The U.S. has conducted more than 2.9 million tests.

The Washington State Department of Health reports 516 deaths among 10,538 cases of COVID-19 in the state.

Worldwide, there have been 1.9 million confirmed cases with nearly 120,000 deaths and nearly 450,000 recoveries.

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