1 Oct 2021

Covid-19 exposure risk at Middlemore Hospital after two patients test positive

6:30 am on 1 October 2021

Dozens of patients at Middlemore Hospital have been potentially exposed to Covid-19 after two patients with the virus presented last night.

A security guard worked at Middlemore Hospital's emergency department on Thursday last week while symptomatic with Covid-19.

Middlemore Hospital. Photo: LDR / Stephen Forbes

The two patients turned up at the emergency department for non-Covid-19 reasons but were subsequently tested and returned positive results.

"In the first case, the patient answered no to all screening questions but, while in triage, clinical staff noted a very minor cough and took steps to isolate and test them. They subsequently returned a positive Covid-19 result," the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

This patient was now in a Covid-19 isolation ward at Middlemore Hospital.

"In the second case, the patient answered yes to one of the screening questions, which was also a symptom consistent with the non-Covid-related reason for going to hospital. They were tested and given initial treatment.

"After learning of their positive test result, the second patient chose to self-discharge but is now being managed by the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS)."

All staff were wearing the appropriate PPE and as such no staff members have been required to stand down.

ARPHS said out of an abundance of caution, 66 patients were now considered close contacts.

"To date, 34 of these patients remain in the hospital and have been moved to isolation wards, while 32 patients who have been discharged or did not require admission following their visit are now under the management of ARPHS for testing and follow up."

The Health Ministry said the risk to public health of these events was deemed to be low.

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