More than 100 patients and staff have been forced into isolation after an unvaccinated student nurse worked for several days across two Sydney hospitals while infected with Covid-19.
The 24-year-old worked shifts at Fairfield and Royal North Shore hospitals between June 24 and 28.
Now health officials are sweating on the results of Covid-19 tests from close contacts, including colleagues and patients at the two hospitals.
Early Thursday morning it was reported that another worker at the Royal North Shore hospital had also tested positive.
The original nurse is in isolation, as are her close contacts. She will be included in Thursday’s numbers.
“Patients in the affected wards and those who have been discharged from those wards are being notified and tested. Those wards are not admitting any new patients,” NSW Health said in a statement.
“More than 100 staff and patients have been identified as close contacts to date, with investigations and contact tracing ongoing. Testing is in progress and to date, all have returned a negative result.”
The health department is now racing to contact patients’ families who may have visited the wards of concern.
The affected areas – which include the cardiology and a general abdominal surgery ward at Royal North Shore Hospital along with Fairfield’s rehabilitation ward – of both hospitals have been deep cleaned and they remain open.
They are no longer admitting any new patients.
There have been 171 local cases since June 16 and 160 of those are directly linked to the Bondi cluster.
Aged care workers must get vaccinated, but critics say the government has been too slow to act
The news that baged care workers will now be mandated to get vaccinated as a condition of employment in the sector caught many in the industry off guard, and some critics have questioned why it took so long for the government to act.
There have also been questions from industry leaders and unions as to how the rollout will occur. They also want more detail on the $11 million set aside for worker leave.
LASA chief executive Sean Rooney said: “The government may well have a plan but it would’ve been nice for us to be involved so we could provide responses to workers wanting details, providers and the general public,” as reported by the Nine Papers.
“The whole vaccination program far too often has led to confusion or disappointment or frustration for aged care workers, families and residents,” he said.
Australians will be “scratching their heads” over the fact mandated vaccines for aged care workers won’t come into effect until September, Labor says.
Labor treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers accused the government of “playing catch-up” and claimed Australians would be bewildered by the delay.
“I think a lot of people who were watching the Prime Minister last night would have been scratching their head and wondering why a lot of this wasn’t happening already,” he told ABC Radio on Tuesday.
“The reason why it hasn’t been happening … is because the Prime Minister’s first instinct is always to avoid responsibility rather than take responsibility.
“That’s why these lockdowns have Scott Morrison’s name stamped on them.”
But chief medical officer Paul Kelly insisted mandating vaccines across the sector came with a range of logistic hurdles and could not be done overnight.
He urged workers to come forward “as quickly as possible” rather than wait until mid-September.
“Mandating something like vaccination is not a decision to be taken lightly. You need to weigh up all of the issues that are involved to make sure that we have used other ways of getting the vaccine out,” he told the ABC on Tuesday.
A superspreader party in Sydney has become a case study in the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines
A Sydney house party that acted as a superspreader event for the coronavirus has also become a case study in the effectiveness of vaccines.
While the majority of the people who attended the West Hoxton party were infected with the virus, those who emerged unscathed had been vaccinated, the NSW Health Minister said.
“I can report that of the more than 30 people that were at that party, 24 of those people are now positive for Covid-19,” Brad Hazzard told reporters on Monday.
“And not one of those 24 people were vaccinated. I could also advise that six health workers who attended at that party, who were fully vaccinated, not one of those people has been infected with [the coronavirus]."Do you have an idea for a story?
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