A California hospital is investigating if an inflatable costume worn by an emergency department employee on Christmas Day might have caused a coronavirus outbreak that infected dozens of people and killed one.
At least 44 staff members at Kaiser Permanente in San Jose tested positive for COVID-19 over the past week, and one died as a result of complications from the disease, according to a hospital spokesperson.
The hospital is now probing whether an air-powered Christmas tree costume, which had big eyes, a smile, and a bright red nose may have fanned the spread of virus-laden droplets.
“This was not a Kaiser Permanente sponsored or approved activity,” the spokesperson says.
“Any exposure, if it occurred, would have been completely innocent, and quite accidental, as the individual had no COVID symptoms and only sought to lift the spirits of those around them during what is a very stressful time.”