Two NWRH staff test positive for coronavirus

6 April 2020
Prof. Tony Lawler, Chief Medical Officer

Two NWRH staff test positive for coronavirus

A further two staff members of the North West Regional Hospital have tonight tested positive for coronavirus.

These are included in the three cases confirmed today.

This takes the number of staff who have tested positive for coronavirus in this outbreak to five. An inpatient has also previously tested positive.

An Outbreak Management Team is already identifying and contacting any person who has had close contact with either of these two staff and will 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.

From tonight, the Tasmanian Health Service is closing the NWRH and the Mersey Community Hospital to visitors, with exceptions only to be granted on compassionate grounds.

In addition to this, from tonight, Ambulance Tasmania will transport any emergency patients from the Devonport region to Launceston General Hospital, as a temporary measure to reduce the workload on the NWRH whilst staff are managing the current outbreak.

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

It is crucial that the THS does everything it can to support the efforts that are currently being undertaken to trace close contacts of the recently confirmed positive cases, and also to keep patients, staff and the community safe.

This change to operations will be constantly monitored and evaluated.