At least a dozen UNC Medical Center professionals test positive for COVID-19

Orange County News

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — At least 12 employees at UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill have tested positive for COVID-19.

A spokesman for UNC Health said those employees are in isolation and will have to be cleared before returning to work.

“Those 12 cases, I mean, that’s just the probability with what’s going on now,” said Jacob Garlow, whose six-year-old son is undergoing chemotherapy for bone cancer at the hospital.

Garlow said only learned of the cases after CBS 17 told him. Despite the confirmed cases, Garlow said he feels confident the hospital is taking steps to stop the spread. 

“As far as I’ve noticed, the precautions they’ve been taking on my son’s floor for immunocompromised people, they’ve been doing a great job,” he explained. 

Garlow said he goes through a screening and a series of questions every time he walks in the hospital. 

“Are you having a fever? Have you had any recent fevers?” he said of some of the questions he gets asked. “Some new questions popped up just recently. I guess nausea, vomiting, diarrhea could be an early indication of COVID-19 so they’ve been asking that.” 

Tammy Chambers’ grandson has leukemia and is also being treated at UNC Hospital. Chambers said the 12 cases of COVID-19 are concerning, but that she’s satisfied with the precautions the hospital is taking. 

“They started today taking temperatures,” Chambers said of the screening she goes through to get in. “They hadn’t been, but they’re taking temperatures now.”

UNC Health said it is “aggressively” testing employees who show symptoms and tracing people they’ve come into contact with if they test positive. 

Out of 13,000 employees, UNC Health said hundreds have been tested.

Chambers tells CBS 17 she feels safer with her grandson in the hospital instead of at home.

“They [hospital employees] are constantly putting hand sanitizer on, constantly washing their hands. They have the outfits on if they need it. They’re wearing their masks, I’ve never seen an employee without a mask on,” Chambers said of the hospital staff. “I feel comfortable that we’re not gonna catch it. If we catch it, it’s gonna be from another source.”

CBS 17 asked UNC Health if any of the 12 employees who tested positive have had direct contact with patients. We have not yet heard back. 

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