At least 50 cases of coronavirus linked to surgeon flying from New York City to LA
Health care worker filing a patient with Covid 19 symptoms on a hospital car: Martin Bernetti / AFP on Getty Images
A 32-year-old nurse - among at least nine others - died of the coronavirus in April after a retired New York surgeon with the disease was taken to a high-end dementia facility in Los Angeles.
According to the LA Times, nurse Brittany Bruner-Ringo died on April 20. Since then, more information has become known about the surgeon and the traces of infected people who have stayed behind after his travels.
A month before Ms. Bruner-Ringo's death, the surgeon boarded an American Airlines flight from New York City to Los Angeles. Shortly before his flight, the man was released from a hospital that had seen an increase in coronavirus cases.
The other 499 passengers on the flight were not informed by health officials that the former surgeon had previously been exposed to Covid-19.
When he arrived in Los Angeles, he was taken to Silverado Beverly Place, a luxurious dementia treatment facility where Ms. Bruner-Ringo was employed.
Facility staff said the surgeon could mingle with and even eat with other people before their symptoms were noticed. Ms. Bruner-Ringo then warned that the surgeon had a fever and cough when he arrived. The facility denies that the nurse made these claims, while her family and friends claim that she spoke to them about the man's symptoms after his arrival.
Although heavily edited medical records obtained from Canyon News indicated that the man had no signs of coughing or respiratory problems, an employee of the LA Times said the man was aware of his illness and wanted to go to a hospital. She remembered asking the man to stay in his room to prevent the pandemic from spreading, which prompted him to discuss his symptoms.
"Yes, I know the situation. And I'm really hot and I have it and I have to go to the hospital," he said.
The day after his arrival, he was admitted to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with 101.9 fever and cough. Exactly a month later, Ms. Bruner-Ringo died of the virus and about 50 residents and staff at the facility had tested positive for the virus.
The surgeon recovered from his struggle, but the people who flew to Los Angeles with him were never informed that they might be exposed.
The county health authorities found out about the surgeon's situation only 11 days after the positive test.
When the former California epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford learned that none of the passengers flying next to the man had been informed of their exposure, he replied, "Christ, that's a problem.
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