06 January 2021

COVID-19 update - 6 January 2021 PPE breach

The Department of Health has been made aware of two breaches in PPE yesterday. One in a State-run quarantine hotel and one outside of the hotel related to transport of a patient.

Both breaches were identified quickly, and action was quickly taken by the Department to manage them.

The first breach relates to a nurse who responded to a guest in hotel quarantine requiring medical assistance and was not wearing all the required PPE.

Due to this breach, the nurse has been put into a State-run quarantine hotel.

The second breach occurred when the same guest was transferred from the hotel to hospital.

A St John Ambulance officer not wearing PPE was less than 1.5 metres from the patient outside of the vehicle before the patient was transferred into the vehicle by another officer wearing full PPE.

A security guard at the hotel who observed the breach, instructed the officer to move away and advised the Department of the breach.

The ambulance officer has also been put into a State-run quarantine hotel.

A third incident has also been identified at the Perth Airport today, related to the same case. This incident has come to light based on the review of CCTV footage, as the person required assistance to disembark the plane. This person has also been put into hotel quarantine. They were tested today and were negative. They will remain in hotel quarantine until 14-days post contact.

The Department of Health is fully investigating these incidents and relevant training given the requirement for healthcare professionals to be exemplary in their use of correct PPE and procedure.

State Health Incident Coordination Centre Incident Controller, Dr Robyn Lawrence stressed that processes were put into place immediately following these breaches to protect the health of the WA community.

The health and safety of the WA community is the number one priority of the State, and any breach of process is unacceptable,” Dr Lawrence said.

“I want to reassure people that public health acted immediately, and both people were placed into quarantine before the virus could incubate or be transmitted to other people.

“The low numbers of COVID-19 in WA are no excuse for complacency and breaches could lead to community transmission if not immediately addressed.

“I would like to take this opportunity to commend the security guard at the hotel for assisting to minimise the breach and for bringing the breach to the attention of the Department of Health.”


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