Ward 1 at Whangarei Hospital is temporarily closed to visitors following some patients testing positive for COVID-19.
Interim district director Tracey Schiebli says as soon as there was an increase in patients testing positive in the ward, it was closed to visitors and the plan to manage the outbreak was initiated. This included infection prevention control measures and informing the whānau of patients of what was happening.
“Although visiting hours are restricted, our hospitals are open for visitors, so the infection may have been brought in by visitors or staff who had no symptoms.
“This is just one of the challenges we face as a country and health service to live with COVID-19. It is therefore critical that all staff, visitors and support people must continue to wear masks appropriately when in the hospital to protect patients and staff,” Tracey Schiebli says.
Measures such as temporarily closing wards are put in place when there is a spike of a contagious virus/infection within a localised area. Other examples where this action has been taken in recent years include norovirus or influenza outbreaks.
There is also a significant community spread of COVID-19 in Northland, with over 200 new cases reported daily this week.
"This reminds us that COVID-19 remains an issue in our community, and people should remain vigilant. Wear masks, stay two metres away from people you don't know, wash your hands frequently, stay home if you're sick, get tested, and get your full course of COVID-19 immunisations."
"While most people who are healthy and vaccinated will have a milder illness, COVID-19 is potentially more dangerous for people who are unwell and already in hospital."
All other parts of the hospital remain open to visitors. A patient may nominate up to two people who can visit them during their stay in hospital. These two visitors must be registered on the Northland DHB Visitor App before they visit. Two nominated people can visit each day, at separate times of the day.
Everyone is asked to not visit a Northland hospital if they are unwell, and all visitors must wear a mask throughout their visit.
The visitor policy for ward 1 will be reviewed on Monday 18 July.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccination or testing go to our website. https://www.northlanddhb.org.nz/(external link)
Free rapid antigen tests (RATs) and face masks are now widely available
Where to order RATs
Face masks are now free with RAT tests.
Wearing face masks can reduce new cases of COVID-19 by as much as 53 percent.
Face masks reduce the number of virus particles someone with COVID-19 can spread and prevent you from inhaling virus particles.
The best protection is when everyone wears a face mask.
Where to wear your mask:
For further information, please contact Liz Inch, Communications Manager
Phone 09 4304101 ext. 60518