Southland Hospital patient did not disclose Covid-19 symptoms

A person admitted to Southland Hospital did not disclose they had Covid-19 symptoms until after their surgery, leading to 11 staff and two other patients having to self-isolate.

The Southern DHB is stressing the importance of people advising of Covid-19 symptoms when they are being admitted to hospital, so precautions can be taken to safeguard hospital staff and other patients.

The message followed the Southland Hospital incident last week where the patient, who has since tested positive for Covid-19, was admitted to hospital needing surgery and did not disclose symptoms until after they had shared a room with two other people, and after surgery had been performed.

The other two patients have tested negative but are still in 14 days isolation.

Thirteen hospital staff have been contacted – 11 are self-isolating and two are considered to be casual contacts.

The health board has assisted three of those staff with accommodation.

Photo: Southern District Health Board
Photo: Southern District Health Board

Public health staff have been managing the situation and no details about the patient will be disclosed for reasons of privacy, the health board said in a statement.

Southland Hospital EOC controller Jo McLeod said their thoughts were with the patient and ''we understand this has been a very difficult situation''.

''We just want to reinforce that it is very important for patients to disclose any symptoms that they may have, even if they don’t seem serious or significant at the time.

''This means that we can ensure that they are cared for in the right place, with the right equipment, protecting them, their families and our staff.”

People would still receive treatment regardless of if they had Covid-19.

The Southern DHB is also urging people not to travel over the Easter break.

Southern health care professionals will be on duty during Easter weekend.

Of the 17 new Covid-19 cases announced in the south today, five were in Queenstown Lakes, one in Gore, eight in Invercargill, and three in Central Otago.


Did hospital staff not have proper PPE? Why was this individual such a risk to so many?

We all value our hospital workers and I think we're all finally recognizing how vital they are, but I am wondering how this single person was such a threat, unless our hospital staff weren't being properly protected in their job.

If infectious disease procedures were being followed through the entire hospital, how did one person potentially infect so many?

In short, what the h*** happened?

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