SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Kaiser Permanente’s San Jose Medical Center has been slapped with a public health order violation related to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the emergency room which has now totaled 60 cases and one death.

According to a statement from Santa Clara County, a Notice of Violation of Health Officer Order was issued on January 5 because of Kaiser’s failure to timely report the original 43 cases involving staffers who tested positive between December 27, 2020 and January 1.

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According to the county’s public health order, employers are legally required to submit information about confirmed positive cases and close contacts within four hours after learning about the positive cases.

“Kaiser Permanente failed to report any of these cases in the County’s Worksite Case and Contact Reporting Portal as it is required to do by the Public Health Order issued on Oct. 5,” read a statement by the county. “Kaiser also submitted a Social Distancing Protocol to the County on Oct. 19 certifying it would comply with all reporting requirements. The County was not informed of the cases until they were confirmed in a press statement issued by Kaiser Permanente on January 3, 2021.

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The penalty for each violation is $1,000 for a total of $43,000, the county said.

Kaiser officials have blamed a staffer wearing an inflatable Christmas tree costume on December 25th for triggering the outbreak. However, according to the press statement, health officials are continuing to investigate the cause or causes behind the outbreak.

The county said it has been determined that the virus that caused the outbreak was not the new variant of the COVID-19 virus first identified in the United Kingdom.

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