07 July 2021

Statement from the Department of Health and WA Country Health Service

It has been established that a breach of COVID protocols occurred at Geraldton Health Campus when a staff member entered a lift shortly after a COVID positive seafarer from the MV Emerald Indah had been inside. 

As is usual protocol, the seafarer was wearing a mask and staff involved in the care of the patient used appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times. No other breaches were identified during the care and movement of the patient.

The breach occurred when a staff member entered the lift before it could be appropriately cleaned. Given the short duration of time between the patient leaving the lift and the staff member entering the lift, they are considered a close contact.

The breach was immediately identified and the staff member was immediately sent home to isolate. The staff member is fully vaccinated and has not had any contact with the community.

Additionally, the Public Health Emergency Operation Centre (PHEOC) has opted to take a highly precautionary approach and is treating anyone who was present in the emergency department at the same time as the patient, and not wearing PPE, as casual contacts.

This impacts around 50 staff and patients who have all been contacted by PHEOC, placed on a testing regime (Days 3, 7, 11) and asked to monitor for symptoms. 

These measures have been taken in an abundance of caution to ensure that we keep the community safe from COVID. We need to be very clear that the risk here is minimal.  

A full review of WA Country Health Service COVID plans and procedures will be undertaken in line with normal practise.