Relaxed Rules at Fountain Valley Hospital Causing Coronavirus Outbreak, Employees Say

Fountain Valley Regional Hospital nursing assistants and technicians claim they’re not being tested for the coronavirus and are forced to reuse equipment and hospital management is mixing coronavirus and non-virus patients.

The National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents many of the hospital’s workers, is slated to hold a news conference in front of the hospital at 11 a.m. Thursday. 

“So if you’re working the COVID floor, there’s a mix of patients. And you’re a nursing assistant … it’s very common that you’re going to get to care for about 10 people per shift, which is a lot,” said union spokesman Matthew Artz. 

Artz said the nurse assistants could be spreading the virus because they work COVID-19 floor containing patients who don’t have the coronavirus while not getting fresh equipment. 

“Some of the patients are going to be non-COVID and [nurse assistants] get one N95 mask a day. So they’re going to go into a COVID room with the same N95 masks they’re going to go into the non-COVID room,” Artz said. 

He said masks would normally be changed out between patients, like a tuberculosis case. 

“If you had a TB patient and you went in there and you had an N95 mask, when you left you’d throw it out and get another one before going to the next patient,” Artz said. “But the rules have been relaxed … they’re following the current, barest standard being allowed.” 

Tenet Health, which owns Fountain Valley Regional Hospital, was still working on a response to the workers’ concerns as of Wednesday afternoon. 

Orange County’s virus case positivity and hospitalization rates have been spiking, along state trends — causing county health officials to close OC bars and state officials to severely curb operations at restaurants and movie theaters.