Current restrictions in Auckland, Northland and Waikato should remain paramount, while vaccination requirements have been announced for education and health care workers. Video / NZ Herald
- Four new cases today bring the total to five. Two from North Shore Hospital and three from Auckland City Hospital.
A new exhibition event at Middlemore Hospital has meant that 21 staff have to be laid off.
The incident comes after a patient returned a positive Covid-19 test result on Monday.
The case went to the hospital’s Emergency Department on Friday for a non-Covid-19 related issue where they were assessed and admitted.
The patient was asymptomatic and answered no to all screening questions about Covid-19.
The patient then developed a cough on Sunday, was tested, and returned a positive test result on Monday.
Health officials said 40 patients were identified as contacts as a result of the exposure event. Of these, 15 are hospitals, while the remaining 25 are being followed up by the Auckland Regional Public Health Service.
Thirty-four staff were also identified as contacts. Of these, 21 employees were suspended with test plans.
“Although there have been a number of exposure events at Middlemore Hospital, this is not unexpected, as there are a number of sub-clusters in South Auckland for which Middlemore is the local hospital,” said the Department of Public Health. .
The Department of Public Health said so far, no exposure events at Middlemore Hospital had resulted in Covid transfer to patients other than staff.
Five hospital staff in Auckland have tested positive for Covid-19 since cases broke out over the weekend.
Two Auckland City Hospital staffers returned positive tests Monday morning after another staffer tested positive over the weekend, the Ministry of Health said in a statement at 1pm.
All three were completely vaccinated, says Auckland District Health Board’s Covid-19 incident controller Alex Pimm.
Initial studies show no links to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) parenting case or to each other. “It looks like the Covid infections were acquired by the community,” Pimm said.
Of the three, two were tested at a test site for communities, while one was tested as part of routine workplace supervision.
Auckland City Hospital has now identified all the contacts of the staff member who tested positive over the weekend for on-site testing for staff and patients.
The advice for Auckland DHB patients and whānau who have been in their places is that they should not take any action regarding these cases unless they are contacted by public health like the DHB.
“Ninety-eight percent of our staff have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, which we know reduces the chance of transmission as a serious illness.
“With more than 12,000 staff, DHB is one of the largest employers in Auckland, so it’s not unexpected that there will be staff members who receive Covid within the community.
“The public can be sure that if they need our care, they will be safe in hospitals,” Pimm said.
North Shore Hospital case
At North Shore Hospital, two staff members delivered positive results Monday.
Both are fully incarcerated and work at the dialysis unit next to the hospital where a patient was reported Saturday as Covid-positive.
There is no direct link between these cases has been established and investigation continues, says Covid-19 hospital leader Tamzin Brott of the hospital, but the hospital is taking a conservative approach, while recognizing the need to provide life-saving services running for renal patients.
Eighteen staff were identified as close contacts and resigned from work as a first precaution and pending further investigation.
The dialysis unit remains open, but measures are in place to manage potential risks to patients and staff.
This includes the mandatory use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and intensive cleaning between each group of patients, and rapid antigen testing for staff for each shift.
“Even with these precautionary measures in place, we can expect staff in the unit to feel anxious,” Brott said, acknowledging the team’s commitment to kidney patients.
The Waitemata DHB employs nearly 9,000 people and is looking at further controls to reduce the frequency and impact of Covid exposure in its services, Brott said in an update to hospital staff.
“As the number of Covid cases increases in the community, we need to recognize that the chances of our services and staff encountering positive cases also increase.”