Michael Patrick Leahy, Breitbart, June 4, 2016
Two workers at Mercy Hospital and Abbot Northwestern Hospital, both located in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area and owned by Allina Health, have been diagnosed with active tuberculosis (TB).
“I can confirm that one hospital worker at Mercy Hospital and one hospital worker at Abbott Northwestern Hospital were diagnosed with active TB,” Allina Health Vice President of Marketing and Communications David Kanihan tells Breitbart News.
“We are contacting each of these patients. At this point we have no evidence that any of these patients have actually contracted TB,” Kanihan says.
Allina Health did not clarify whether the hospital workers diagnosed with active TB were physicians, nurses, medical assistants, or other support staff.
Last year, a local newspaper reported that three employees of the Fridley Clinic, also owned by Allina Health and within ten miles of the two hospitals where the workers were diagnosed with active TB, received awards from Anoka County, the fourth most populous county in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, for their volunteer work medically screening refugees.
Neither Allina Health nor the Minnesota Department of Health clarified that timeline when asked by Breitbart News.
The Minnesota Department of Health reported that in 2014, 73 percent of the 147 active cases of TB in Minnesota were foreign born.
“Half of the foreign-born TB cases reported in Minnesota from 2010 through 2014 initially arrived in the U.S. as refugees, and another 27% arrived as immigrants,” the report adds.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area is a center of refugee resettlement.
As Breitbart News reported previously, 22 percent of all refugees arriving in Minnesota in 2014 tested positive for latent TB. This compares to a four percent positive latent TB rate among the general population.
Twenty-six percent of the foreign born cases of active TB reported in Minnesota in 2015 were from patients born in Somalia.
“Cannot disclose due to patient privacy laws,” Allina Health’s Kanihan tells Breitbart News, when asked whether either or both of the two Allina Health workers diagnosed with active TB were American born or foreign born.
When reminded that the Minnesota Department of Health annually reports the breakdown between foreign born and American born active TB cases, Kanihan held firm.
“They may disclose some kind of aggregate breakdown, but that’s different from disclosing information about two specific people. Sorry, can’t help you with that one,” he tells Breitbart News.
The Minnesota Department of Health did not respond when Breitbart News posed the same question to them.