WASHINGTON (AP) — Howard University Hospital says a former contractor’s personal laptop containing patient information was stolen in January.

The hospital sent letters this week to more than 34,000 patients affected by the breach. The records held personal information, including Social Security numbers.

The hospital said in a statement that the laptop was password protected and that there is no evidence that the patients’ files have been violated.

It said the former contractor downloaded the files to a personal laptop in violation of hospital policy and federal health care rules.

The hospital will provide identity theft alert coverage for one year to patients whose Social Security numbers were on the laptop.

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