Concord Hospital in Sydney’s west has gone into lockdown, closing its doors to all visitors until at least Friday.
The drastic move comes after several healthcare workers at the hospital tested positive to coronavirus, sparking fears that vulnerable patients could become infected.
There are five cases linked to Concord Hospital, including the initial emergency ward worker who worked a shift while infectious on September 1.
The hospital will be closed from 8am on Wednesday to 10am on Friday for deep cleaning of all wards.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was ‘concerning’ that a person likely became infected after touching a surface in the hospital, as they were wearing full PPE.
Concord Hospital (pictured) will be closed from 8am on Wednesday to 10am on Friday for deep cleaning of all wards after five cases were linked to the hospital earlier this week
‘I am always concerned about those cases, because every case can blow out if you don’t contact trace and isolate,’ she told Sunrise.
‘But what is concerning about the Concord Hospital example is that health are still doing discussions but they suspect that this is a case where someone has picked it up from a surface, because everybody who got it was wearing a mask and full PPE.
‘This is really contagious … whilst the pandemic is around and until we have a vaccine, all of us have to be cautious and assume we have got it or that people we are interacting with have it as well.’
NSW Health assured families of patients that there would be arrangements for people to contact loved ones by phone or video calls.
‘There is no evidence that there is ongoing risk in the hospital and patients should continue to visit to receive the medical care they need,’ NSW Health said in a statement.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) said it was ‘concerning’ that a person likely became infected after touching a surface in the hospital, as they were wearing full PPE
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was ‘concerning’ that a person wearing a mask and full PPE became infected after touching a surface in the hospital. Pictured: Healthcare workers in PPE in Rushcutters Bay, Sydney
Meanwhile, Sydney Local Health District (SLHD) said those identified as contacts are being tested, and are isolating at home for 14 days.
‘As an additional precaution, all staff on the aged care wards are wearing full personal protective equipment (gowns, gloves, masks and goggles) to minimise risks to patients,’ SLHD said in a statement.
‘We know this is a worrying time, but we would like to thank you all for your patience and understanding.’
The hospital’s closure to visitors comes after more than 100 health workers were forced into isolation waiting on coronavirus tests.
There were four new COVID-19 cases in NSW on Monday – a returned overseas traveller and three healthcare workers at Sydney’s Concord Repatriation General Hospital and Liverpool Hospital.
The three healthcare workers were diagnosed during investigations into an emergency department doctor, reported on Saturday, who worked at the two hospitals while potentially infectious.
Another case, a visitor to a hospital emergency department where the doctor worked or sought treatment, was included in Tuesday’s numbers, taking the cluster to five.
Sydney Local Health District (SLHD) said those identified as contacts are being tested, and are isolating at home for 14 days
Patients considered close contacts and all staff at Concord and Liverpool EDs (pictured) at the same times as the positive cases are being isolated and tested
Patients considered close contacts and all staff at Concord and Liverpool EDs at the same times as the positive cases are being isolated and tested.
The three newly reported health workers say they had no symptoms while at work, and also wore personal protective equipment while caring for patients.
Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said there was no evidence to suggest NSW hospitals weren’t operating safely and effectively, and urged people not to delay urgent care.
Authorities suspect at least one of the new cases caught the virus while both parties were wearing masks.
‘For some of the cases there isn’t that clear-cut direct contact without a surgical mask,’ Dr Chant told reporters on Monday.
‘We are exploring avenues of whether there could be transmission.
‘What that means in lay terms is if your hands are contaminated, and then you’re touching computer screens or touching pens and pencils pieces of paper, can you actually transmit the virus?’
Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant (pictured) said there was no evidence to suggest NSW hospitals weren’t operating safely and effectively, and urged people not to delay urgent care
Saturday’s reported case worked at Liverpool Hospital’s emergency department while potentially infections on September 3 between 8am and 6pm.
The healthcare worker also worked at Concord Repatriation General Hospital between 2pm and midnight on September 1.
Two of the new cases reported on Monday worked at Liverpool Hospital between September 2 and September 4
The third case worked at Concord’s emergency department between 7pm on September 1 until 7am the next day.
Meanwhile, Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Monday confirmed school formals and graduations would be allowed to go ahead in term 4, Despite a number of outbreaks in schools in recent months.
WHEN WERE THE HEALTHCARE WORKERS ON DUTY WHILE POTENTIALLY INFECTIOUS?
- September 3 between 8am and 6pm
- September 2 to September 4
Concord Repatriation General Hospital
- September 1 between 2pm and midnight
- September 1 from 7pm to midnight
- September 2 from 12.01am to 7am