Hospital visitor screening being tested after outbreak
THE Tasmanian Health Service has implemented 11 of the 17 recommendations made in an interim report into a coronavirus outbreak in the North-West and the rest were in train, Health Minister Sarah Courtney says.
These measures included staff screening at hospitals and the testing of a visitor screening application which will be rolled out across Tasmania's hospitals after it is introduced at the Mersey Community Hospital.
New PPE training will also start in the North-West first to ensure staff social distancing and other safety protocols are followed.
The interim report showed staff were still meeting in large groups despite a high number of coronavirus infections among health workers and patients at the NWRH.
Labor Leader, Rebecca White criticised what she called a "piecemeal" approach to PPE training across the state's hospital network.
"This is of great concern given the outbreak previously experienced at the NWRH and the fact the LGH has been treating a number of COVID-19 positive patients, with a staff member now also testing positive," Ms White said.
Ms Courtney's reassurances came as Tasmania recorded one more positive case overnight on Wednesday to take the total to 224.
The THS announced no cases had been recorded until 6pm Wednesday before the man's result came back later in the evening.
The man, in his 30s, is a close contact of a previous positive case and lives in the North West.
Forty-one of the state's cases are still active, including a nurse who worked on the COVID-19 ward at the Launceston General Hospital.
Ten of her colleagues have been tested and since returned negative results.
Deputy Director of Public Health Scott McKeown said the response to the worker's diagnosis had been rapid.
"We have learnt from the outbreak at the North West Regional Hospital and I am confident the LGH is managing the situation very appropriately," Dr McKeown said.
Labor says the government needs to introduce more random testing for COVID-19 to build a clearer picture of the impact of the virus in the wider community.
Leader Rebecca White said her call was backed by new evidence from the Medical Journal of Australia which found asymptomatic transmission remained a constant threat to the elderly population and infection control measures.
"Community surveillance must go beyond targeting only symptomatic individuals," it said.
Ms White said the government had shown it was willing to move before other jurisdictions to close borders and provide support to visa holders.
"They should demonstrate the same logic to testing and expand it to all Tasmanians and set up mobile testing clinics that are easily accessible for people in places like supermarkets," Ms White said.
Originally published as Hospital visitor screening being tested after outbreak