Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: 29 staff at Middlemore Hospital stood down after identified as close contacts

Twenty-nine staff at Middlemore Hospital are close contacts of a Covid-19 case and have been stood down for 14 days, the Ministry of Health said tonight.

Eleven of the 29 staff are doctors, 13 are registered nurses, 2 healthcare assistant, a phlebotomist, cleaner and ward clerk.

Four wards are currently closed to any new admissions and all patients are being managed under strict infection and prevention control measures, including the full use of PPE, and treated as Covid-19 exposed

In a statement this evening, the Ministry of Health said a “national process” was underway across all DHBs to identify and send staff to Auckland to support the Covid-19 response.

“Middlemore Hospital are actively reviewing staffing daily and, like other DHBs in the region, are experiencing significant shortages of both Registered Nurses and Health Care Assistants.”

The Ministry was working with metro-Auckland DHBs to match available staff to need and would continue to deploy staff as required to ensure they had the necessary resources.

“Metro-Auckland DHBs are working closely together to manage the Covid-19 positive cases needing hospital level care. The hospitals have been constantly updating their planning for surge capacity which includes preparations for staffing and resourcing additional beds in dedicated Covid-19 wards.”

RNZ reports a patient showed up at the Middlemore emergency department on Saturday with abdominal pains. He denied having acknowledge of being in contact with the virus or being in a location of interest and didn’t have any other symptoms.

The Ministry said the patient subsequently developed a fever and was later confirmed with Covid-19.

It said the individual was then moved to a dedicated Covid-19 ward.

Three patients who initially shared a room with the case are now in single isolation rooms.

Yesterday, the Herald reported all patients and staff working in two affected Middlemore Hospital wards were being regarded as close contacts of a patient with Covid-19.

A patient, who later tested positive for Covid-19, arrived at the South Auckland hospital at 5pm on Saturday evening, with atypical coronavirus symptoms.

The patient tested positive on Monday and was immediately moved to the respiratory ward dedicated to Covid patients, a Counties Manukau Health spokesperson said this afternoon.

Three patients who shared the room with the case are all in single isolation rooms now.
One patient has been sent to a Managed Isolation Facility.

Middlemore Hospital has investigated the ventilation systems in the affected area.

“The outcome of the investigation suggests that the likelihood of virus being spread to other wards is extremely low. IPC and ARPHS are reviewing these findings and will advise accordingly.”

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) said yesterday it was undertaking a case investigation to identify and isolate close contacts.

“All patients and staff working in the two affected wards between 6.30am and 4.30pm on Sunday 5 September are currently being classed as close contacts until we have done further investigations,” Counties Manukau Health added.

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