Mildura base public hospital staff exposed to positive COVID case

The MILDURA Base Public Hospital (MBPH) has confirmed that a “potentially large number” of staff were exposed to a positive coronavirus case over the weekend and will be forced to self-isolate.

The news comes after a man presented to the MBPH emergency department last night and returned a positive COVID-19 test this morning.

MBPH chief executive Terry Welch said the hospital had thoroughly cleaned its emergency department and implemented “strict criteria for visitors” in response to the case.

The Department of Health and Human Services is still assessing the number of employees affected today, with the hospital “anticipating the potential for a significant effect on staff,” Welch said.

“We are working with the contact tracing team and the public health unit to determine exactly who was considered to have been exposed, and we will respond accordingly.”

The Victorian government contact tracing team will be in contact with anyone who may have come in contact with the positive case at the hospital, Welch said.

The hospital was assessing how to address potential staff shortages as exposed staff were forced into isolation.

“We are currently under a lot of pressure with the staff realities,” he said.

The hospital was looking to address in-house staffing shortages over the next 72 hours, Welch said, and “would then look at what support we need outside” with support from the state government.

Mr. Welch urged anyone in need of emergency treatment not to avoid the emergency department.

“The facility is clean and we follow the guidelines to the letter in terms of deep cleaning.”

But he asked “anyone who could avoid (the emergency department) or find an alternative treatment mechanism in the coming period to certainly do so.”

“We will do our utmost to mitigate any effects that are felt by the community to the extent possible,” he said.

He urged everyone in Mildura with symptoms of coronavirus to “be proactive … and get tested and isolated.”

MBPH does not offer testing for the coronavirus and anyone with symptoms should get tested at the drive-thru at Mildura Recreation Reserve.

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