Third coronavirus death confirmed

7 April 2020

Prof. Tony Lawler, Chief Medical Officer

A man in his 80s who tested positive for coronavirus has died at the North West Regional Hospital today.

The man was a passenger aboard the Ruby Princess.

On behalf of the Tasmanian Health Service, the Department of Health, and all the dedicated staff at the North West Regional Hospital, I extend my condolences to the man’s family and loved ones.

Out of respect, it is not appropriate to make further comment about this matter.

Tasmania has now recorded the deaths of three people who tested positive for coronavirus.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of the staff at the NWRH under the current circumstances.

Hospital work can be extremely demanding under normal circumstances. The fact that staff are also having to work with the knowledge that a number of their colleagues have tested positive for coronavirus, and that others are also unable to be at work due to the risk associated with coronavirus is exceptionally challenging.

I thank them all for their commitment to delivering the highest standard of patient care in what can only be described as an extremely trying scenario.

An Outbreak Management Team continues to identify and contact any person who has had close contact with staff diagnosed with coronavirus to ensure necessary actions are taken.

If any staff member or patient is determined to be a close contact of these cases, they will be contacted and advised of what action they need to take.

While it may be necessary for other staff and patients to be tested for coronavirus, this will occur as investigations progress. We will assess and test any staff member who is symptomatic and any patient who is symptomatic and determined to be at risk of coronavirus.

We acknowledge the current situation is creating concern, both for staff and for the community. We are taking every action in accordance with best advice to ensure possible contacts are identified as quickly as possible. The safety of our patients and our dedicated staff remain our highest priority, and there may be some disruption to normal hospital operations while our investigation continues.

Patients, staff and the public will be kept informed of the situation as the investigation progresses.