Newsflash: North West Regional Hospital COVID-19 Outbreak Plan Update

On Friday 10 April 2020, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Tasmanian Branch (ANMF) Secretary Emily Shepherd, was advised of significant changes to health service delivery at the North West Regional Hospital (NWRH) and the Mersey Community Hospital (MCH) in response to the current COVID-19 outbreak at the North West Regional Hospital.

We appreciate that these are significant changes and will be causing distress and anxiety for many of you. The Department of Health have indicated that these changes are in response to the changed definition of ‘close contact’ in the context of, contact, with a positive COVID-19 patient. These changes mean that if you have spent 15 minutes or more, in the cumulative with a COVID-19 patient, you are required to isolate. As a result, significant action has been required at the NWRH and specifically on the medical and surgical ward.

The Department of Health have advised that this will now mean that at the NWRH:

  1. All NWRH medical and surgical staff who have worked recently on these wards will need to isolate for 14 days from tomorrow morning, 11 April 2020
  2. That all NWRH Medical and Surgical staff will be tested for COVID-19 and will also require re-testing for COVID-19 if symptoms arise during the 14-day isolation
  3. No new admissions will be accepted onto the medical, surgical or paediatric wards at the NWRH
  4. All Emergency Department (ED) presentations who need admission to these wards will be transferred to the Launceston General Hospital (LGH)

Any ANMF member who requires isolation but is not able to undertake the 14 days at home or lives with a vulnerable person who is in a high-risk category for COVID-19, should alert their manager and request alternate accommodation from the Tasmanian Government.

All members should be aware that these 14 days isolation will be paid leave based on your projected roster, or if you have worked on the ward as a casual, you will be paid for any booked shifts or an average of your most recent work activity.

If you become symptomatic during your 14 days isolation and test positive to COVID-19, the ANMF advise members to lodge a worker’s compensation claim.

We encourage any members with concerns to contact our Member Support Team via membersupport@anmftas.org.au or for urgent matters phone (03) 6223 6777 or 1800 001 241 (if outside Hobart). Due to the COVID-19 situation, our Member Support Team are now practicing social isolation strategies and working from home. Bearing this in mind, email is the preferred and fastest way of contacting them.

Download a print ready PDF of this newsflash here.

Updates correct as at 10 April 2020
Authorised by Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary