More than 175 health-care workers have virus

Infections at Kaleida, ECMC and Catholic Health amount to 10% of total cases in Erie and Niagara counties

Updated at 5:14 p.m.

At least 176 doctors, nurses and other health-care workers at the region’s three largest health-care providers have tested positive for COVID-19. 

That’s more than 10 percent of the total confirmed cases in Erie and Niagara counties.

Kaleida Health, the region’s largest health-care provider, has reported the most infections, 103, as of Wednesday, according to a document obtained by Investigative Post. Eight of those are doctors; the rest are nurses and other staff.

Kaleida spokesman Michael Hughes confirmed that number, adding that Kaleida has tested more than 600 employees so far.

The total at Kaleida has tripled in the past two weeks, when Investigative Post reported 34 Kaleida caregivers had tested positive.

Like Kaleida, ECMC — the region’s third-largest health-care provider — reported a dramatic increase in staff stricken ill.

As of this morning, 25 ECMC employees had tested positive. That’s up from six as of April 1. None of the sick ECMC employees are hospitalized, according to hospital spokesman Peter Cutler. Cutler said ECMC has tested 123 employees so far. 

Catholic Health of Western New York, the region’s second-largest health-care provider, did not originally provide data for this article but responded after it was published. According to spokeswoman JoAnn Cavanaugh, 48 Catholic Health employees have tested positive for COVID-19, out of about 300 tested.

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About a quarter of the Kaleida workers who have tested positive — a total of 26 — are employees at Visiting Nurse Association of Western New York, a Kaleida operation that provides health care to the ailing and elderly in their homes. 

Almost one-third — a total of 33 — were working at Buffalo General Medical Center, Kaleida’s main base for COVID-19 care. Twenty-two were employees at Oishei Children’s Hospital and 18 work at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.

Buffalo General and Millard Fillmore Suburban are handling the bulk of the Kaleida system’s COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to the document obtained by Investigative Post. As of Wednesday, Buffalo General had 45 COVID-19 patients — 21 in intensive care, 17 on ventilators. Millard Fillmore Suburban had 28 patients with the disease — 15 in intensive care and 13 on ventilators.

Erie County Medical Center is currently treating 36 COVID-19 patients, 20 of them on ventilators, according to Cutler.

Of Catholic Health’s 110 COVID-19 patients, 65 are in critical care, according to Cavanaugh. Seventy of the system’s patients are at St. Joseph’s in Cheektowaga, which is entirely committed to coronavirus treatment.

Workers at other health-care providers are also testing positive. Last week, the Buffalo News reported seven employees at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center had COVID-19. The disease has begun to appear in nursing homes, too, among both residents and staff.

Kaleida and Catholic Health and each operate five hospitals. Erie County Medical Center operates one. Kaleida Health employs about 8,400, Catholic Health about 7,600,  and ECMC about 3,800, according to Business First’s 2020 Book of Lists.