There have been another TWO potential exposure events connected with Northern Beaches Hospital. Some emergency patients who attended emergency and x-ray on the afternoon of 17 September – and we know also the morning of 20 September – have been told to isolate as close contacts of a known COVID case.
We have spoken with patients who were contacted by NSW Health this morning and told to isolate until at least 1 October 11:59pm. Both patients were in Emergency between 2pm and 4.40pm on 17 September and attended X-ray. Another patient was told they were a casual contact for 20 September, and now another patient has come forward to say they were contacted today as a close contact on Monday 20 September. They were in emergency around 10am.
A text message from NSW Health is advising recipients, “This is NSW Health. You have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus at Northern Beaches Hospital in Frenches Forest on 17 September 2021… By law you must self-isolate until 11:59pm on October 2021, not leave your home, except to get a test or in an emergency. Not allow anyone to enter your home, except in an emergency.”
The hospital hit headlines when a new mother and baby became COVID-positive after time spent in the maternity ward last month. NSW Health also conducted contact tracing recently after it was revealed that a COVID-positive person was in the emergency room on 1 September.
While there are strict protocols, hygiene practices and screenings at the hospital, the Delta strain is difficult to triage.
There is no evidence of a spread within this hospital, but clusters elsewhere in Sydney hospitals have become a major issue this week. North Sydney’s Mater hospital is reportedly dealing with 14 staff and patients COVID positive and 15 people at Liverpool Hospital.
Northern Beaches Hospital implemented new COVID security procedures this week in the lead up to an expected period of high demand and high risk as lockdown measures slowly ease over coming weeks and months.
From Monday (20 September) the hospital required patients to have a COVID test at least three days before an appointment and to complete a screening questionnaire. If you do not receive your results in time you will have to reschedule.
Maternity patients and their support partners will need to surveillance test once a week from 36 weeks gestation or 72 hours before any antenatal visit.
There are still no visitors permitted.
For obvious reasons, these rules do not apply to emergency presentations.