Nguyen worried that she’d been exposed, because the only personal protective equipment she wore during those shifts was a surgical mask. However, she said, the hospital instructed her to continue working as usual, until she developed symptoms of COVID-19 two days later. Then the hospital placed her in quarantine but told her that she couldn’t get tested for the coronavirus at the hospital — she had to go to a community testing site, instead, she said.
“After that, I didn’t get paid for over two weeks I was quarantined,” said Nguyen, who returned to work after having tested negative.
Workers at Fountain Valley have repeatedly raised alarms in recent weeks about hospital practices they fear leave them vulnerable to the coronavirus — including lack of testing, reuse of personal protective equipment and subpar infection controls — by writing to the CEO, calling lawmakers and staging two demonstrations outside the hospital. In July, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents employees like Nguyen, submitted a complaint to the California Department of Public Health, which the union said prompted an investigation that continues. (The department said that complaints are confidential and that it couldn’t comment on any investigations.)