GAINESVILLE, Fla. – At least 17 anesthesiologist residents and a fellow at one of the premier university hospital systems in Florida contracted COVID-19 earlier this month after attending a private party together, according to hospital insiders and internal documents.
The outbreak at University of Florida Health occurred after a party at a private home, according to people familiar with the situation. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they said UF Health prohibits employees from speaking to reporters without authorization.
After the party, on July 10, chairman of anesthesiology at the University of Florida College of Medicine, Timothy E. Morey, emailed staff to report that the hospital system’s anesthesiology department had 18 positive cases of the coronavirus who were recovering at home.
The cases included 14 junior residents, two senior residents, a fellow and an administrative employee, the email said, noting that it was providing the “latest data from yesterday.” It said the anesthesiology department “wishes them well and a speedy return to good health.” It was unclear whether or when the employees were returning to work with patients.
The UF Health outbreak illustrates the difficulties of stemming the spread of the pandemic, when even trained health care professionals can be sickened from a private party in Florida – one of the nation’s hot spots for the virus – after explicit warnings about the risks from social gatherings.
A copy of Morey’s email was obtained by Fresh Take Florida , a news service operated by the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications.
In response to questions, UF Health’s chief communications officer, Melanie Fridl Ross, said in a statement: “UF Health educates its faculty, […]