UPDATE: Unidentified Kaiser nurse says woman behind costumed 'super-spreader' event just 'spreading joy'


Mercury News has spoken to a nurse who was present on the day a woman in a holiday costume arrived at the doctors' station and unknowingly spread COVID-19 virus to 44 staff members at Kaiser Permanente in emergency room in San Jose.

The unidentified nurse explains that sometime between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., the woman in the costume spontaneously appeared, wearing a mask and a face shield and briefly interacted with another nurse from about six feet away, she said.

The nurse stressed that contrary to what was earlier reported, there was no party or gathering around the woman in the costume, everyone was wearing a mask, and “we don’t hug.”

"She was just spreading joy,” the Kaiser nurse tells Mercury News.

According to reporting by NBC LA, Kaiser hospital officials said that between December 27 and January 1, 43 emergency staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, and one person died as of last Monday.

“Using our infection proven protocols, we are investigating the outbreak and using contact tracing to personally notify and test any staff or patients who were exposed during this time period based on CDC and public health guidelines,” a spokesperson said in a statement obtained by NBC LA.

At the time, an ER employee believes that there may be another reason for the outbreak.

“They were doing respiratory treatments inside a room that they’re not supposed to,” the employee said.

Although the hospital reported that they’d done a deep cleaning following the event, one unidentified employee says, “that’s a lie.” “All they did was come in and do a deep cleaning of the small break room. They didn’t do the other parts of the emergency department and there was no deep cleaning.”

The hospital reportedly said that it will no longer allow air-powered costumes at any facilities as a result of the contamination.