Hospital protection protocol under review

Dunedin Hospital staff wearing protective gear escort two patients through the main entrance of...
Dunedin Hospital staff wearing protective gear escort two patients through the main entrance of the emergency department. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
The Southern District Health Board (SDHB) will this week reconsider visiting hours among other precautions as it prepares for the possible arrival of Covid-19.

SDHB Covid-19 response executive head Gail Thomson said a heightened awareness of infection prevention and control meant hospital staff were using personal protective equipment when appropriate.

It had been preparing for the possible arrival of the virus since mid-January, she said.

An emergency co-ordination centre had been set up at Wakari Hospital to co-ordinate and support planning activity across the southern health system, alongside an emerging infectious diseases committee to monitor the progress of the illness.

"SDHB will this week consider visitor hours and whether the current circumstances merit changes or restrictions to them.

"This will be communicated to the public should changes be required."

Public Health South had been working to identify high-risk visitors at borders, and hospital teams had been planning to manage a variety of scenarios, including isolating patients and needing to care for patients who might require acute care, she said.

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