19 patients under quarantine after being exposed to virus at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital

Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital has partially locked down its surgical unit after a group of patients came into contact with a hospital employee who tested positive for COVID-19.

Nineteen patients will be quarantined for two weeks in an area of the hospital’s medical-surgical unit. This is the same department that experienced an outbreak in August where 26 employees and four patients tested positive.

Hospital officials say they are following CDC and county guidelines and have recently stepped up safety protocols.

"We’re able to have the testing capabilities of being able to really test every single admission that comes into our hospital," said Tyler Hedden, the hospital’s chief executive. "I like to get out and round every day and just ask questions about what support is needed out on the units and so it’s just that daily interaction ensuring that everyone feels supportive."

But workers do not agree and held a rally earlier this week calling for more transparency from management and improved testing and contact tracing ability.

Mito Gonzales is a lab tech and phlebotomist at the hospital and said his wife, who’s also a hospital employee, was told to come back to work after getting sick.

"This big company comes up to this small community, they buy up their hospital just for profits. You’re supposed to take care of the workers and the patients that are here to be healed. And you’re not doing it. You’re doing a bad job," he said.

Hospital officials said so far, none of the patients who were exposed to the virus have tested positive.