Virus-Infected West Australian Nurse Always Wore Mask, PPE

Virus-Infected West Australian Nurse Always Wore Mask, PPE
Hospital staff assist people waiting in line to be screened for COVID-19 outside the Royal Melbourne Hospital on March 11, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Luis Ascui/Getty Images)

A West Australian nurse infected with COVID-19 while helping in Victoria’s virus-ravaged aged care sector says she always wore a mask and doesn’t know how she contracted the illness.

Renee Freeman, 44, travelled to Melbourne to help but instead became a patient.

“I always wore the proper (personal protective equipment) for the duration of my work placement,” she wrote in a statement circulated by WA’s health department.

“Even as the facility was stepped down to normal I continued to wear N95 masks all the time and when called for I used my personal supply of gowns when required to deal with a resident who we deemed a risk.”

Freeman said that when working with dementia patients and others in aged care, it is necessary to get close to perform duties such as turning them in their beds.

“In one case I also wasn’t quick enough to stop an elderly resident from touching my face in gratitude for treating her with kindness and dignity,” she said.

“There will never be a way to tell who I caught this virus from or how but I can assure you it was not caught through lack of PPE usage.”

Thousands of Victorian COVID-19 cases have been linked to aged care, with both residents and healthcare workers infected.

Freeman penned her statement in Melbourne where she’s in isolation before returning to WA.

Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.
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