Mount Druitt Hospital in Sydney’s west was forced to close after a patient in the emergency department tested positive for COVID-19 after presenting with respiratory symptoms on Saturday.
The patient was placed into a section of the emergency department reserved for COVID-19 cases.
New South Wales (NSW) health authorities said the patient was informed of their positive diagnosis on Sunday night and transferred to Westmead Hospital for treatment.
A spokesperson for the Western Sydney Local Health District told The Epoch Times on Monday that the hospital had completed a deep clean of the Mount Druitt Emergency Department.
“The emergency department is once again operating as normal and continues to provide high-quality care for patients in western Sydney,” the spokesperson said.
Health authorities are urgently investigating who among the hospital staff and patients may have been exposed to the virus and will be contacting those identified as close contacts as quickly as possible so they can get tested and isolate.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant said on Monday that authorities had still not determined the risk profile for other people in the emergency department and were taking a cautious approach to the risk assessment of the incident.
“We take a very precautionary role given the importance of health care workers being COVID-free and also the fact that the emergency department have a lot of vulnerable people attend with underlying health conditions, ” Chant said. “So you would expect us to take a very cautious approach.”
Chant also urged people to continue to get tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, as testing numbers in NSW had dropped significantly for the past couple of days.
Chant said NSW authorities would like to see testing rates at around 30,000 per day, with Sunday’s rate of over 18,000 being concerning at this point in the NSW outbreak.
The exposure incident at Mount Druitt comes as NSW authorities believe they are in the mopping up phase of the Avalon and Berala outbreaks with NSW recording just five new locally acquired cases on Sunday.
Three have been genomically tied to the Berala outbreak. The two further locally acquired cases, including the patient at Mount Druitt and a household contact, are still of unknown origin.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that NSW residents need to be aware that despite the government’s best measures there will still be outbreaks and quarantine leaks.
“We have to be very honest—there is no way of eliminating this virus so long as it exists around the world,” Berejiklian said. “Perfection is not possible during a pandemic. As much as we’d like to think there is perfection, there’s not. We have to assume there will be incidents where there’s concern but let’s put things into perspective.”