Health care workers demonstrated outside Kindred Hospital in Westminster Wednesday, claiming workplace conditions put them and their patients in danger.
“We don’t have an established COVID unit… we want suspected and positive patients to be isolated,” said Joshua Fernandez, a registered respiratory therapist.
As of Tuesday, there were 12 patients and 16 caregivers who tested positive for coronavirus at the hospital, according to the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which helped organize the protest.
Nurses who work at the hospital say that patients who have tested positive for the virus are housed on the same floor as other patients.
“They’re separated by a door, that’s it… they’re not negative pressure rooms, they’re regular patient rooms,” said Jewl Russell, a nurse in the intensive care unit. “But it does share the same air conditioning system and as we talk about how the virus is airborne, that becomes a big concern.”
Cesar Robles, a licensed vocational nurse, says he was infected at the hospital and then had to be hospitalized for two weeks after working around patients who had tested positive for the virus. Robles says he didn’t have an N95 mask on, and he blames the hospital for the lack of access to personal protective equipment.
“They are so greedy about giving PPEs and separating patients with COVID,” he said.
Protesters on Wednesday could be heard chanting “What do we want? PPE,” and “Do the right thing.”
“It’s not fair treatment for people who come in and risk their lives everyday,” Fernandez said.
Kindred Hospital Westminster responded with a statement that read, in part, that the hospital offers care in “specially designated areas of the hospital, to those recovering from the COVID-19 virus” and that they’re consistent with guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The statement went on to say that “every staff member who enters a patient room is provided an N-95 mask as an extra safety precaution.”