Australia

Sydney hospital allegedly instructs staff to breach COVID-19 self-isolation to come to work

Amid rising COVID-19 cases in NSW, new accusations have surfaced that staff at a Sydney hospital were expected to come to work despite being identified as close contacts of a positive case.

SBS News has been told that numerous staff members at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney’s inner west were identified as close contacts of a COVID-19 case at the hospital’s emergency department, but were told to continue working.

This was despite a clear public health order which required them to isolate.

SBS News understands the infectious diseases control unit at the hospital has since intervened and overruled the decision of RPA executives.

NSW Health in a statement said that “close contacts that were able to be easily identified were tested and were instructed to immediately isolate”.

“A team of experts, including senior clinicians from Infection control, infectious diseases, public health, respiratory medicine and emergency medicine, and senior management, made a joint decision to allow the remaining staff to continue to work while these assessments were being conducted,” the statement said.

“The decision was made to ensure the emergency department, which is one of the busiest in the state, could continue to provide care to the community, including treating critically ill patients.” 

NSW Health stated once all assessments were completed, infectious diseases clinicians determined which additional staff were close contacts and instructed them to isolate. 

It said the emergency department had been thoroughly cleaned and all staff have been wearing full PPE and adhering to strict infection control protocols. 

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