About 200 staff members at a major San Francisco hospital and the University of California, San Francisco’s health system, most of them fully vaccinated, tested positive for the coronavirus this month, and most, according to a hospital official, involved the highly contagious Delta variant.
Some of the cases were asymptomatic, most involved mild to moderate symptoms and two required hospitalization, officials said. The infections were determined to be Delta-related because most samples in San Francisco were tested for the variant, which is now dominant in the city.
About 75 to 80 percent of the more than 50 staff members infected at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital were fully vaccinated, Dr. Lukejohn Day, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said in an interview on Saturday. The University of California, San Francisco said in a statement issued on Friday that 153 of the 183 cases it reported across its hospitals, clinics and campus had been fully vaccinated. [Update: On Aug. 2, the university clarified that 146 of the cases were among staff members in its health system, and that 37 were among U.C.S.F. researchers, other university staff and students. It also reported that, of the two people hospitalized, one was vaccinated and the other was not.]
None of the infected staff members at San Francisco General have been hospitalized and most had mild to moderate symptoms, Dr. Day said. The asymptomatic cases were discovered through contact tracing.
Without vaccinations, Dr. Day said, the hospitalization rate would be much worse.
“We’re concerned right now that we’re on the rise of a surge here in San Francisco and the Bay Area,” Dr. Day said. “But what we’re seeing is very much what the data from the vaccines showed us: You can still get Covid, potentially. But if you do get it, it’s not severe at all.”
On July 11, San Francisco ordered that workers in high-risk workplaces, including hospitals, be vaccinated by Sept. 15. The U.C.S.F. statement said that the hospital was “doubling down on our efforts to protect our staff. This includes requiring all employees and trainees to comply with the new UC-systemwide Covid-19 vaccination mandate, with limited exceptions for medical or religious exemptions.”
Staff members at both hospitals have continued to wear personal protective equipment, Dr. Day said. But the number of staff infections reported in July is about as many as during the peak of the winter surge.
“We’re nervous that we could potentially exceed it,” Dr. Day said.