Pharmacy worker has COVID-19, CWH on watch list

A hospital pharmacy worker has tested positive to COVID-19 after working across multiple sites, and a Chemist Warehouse has been added to NSW Health’s watch list

As numbers rise in Sydney’s northern beaches COVID-19 cluster, Ramsay Health Care has issued a statement confirming that an employee from the area had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The pharmacy worker is now isolating at home.

The pharmacy worker visited North Shore Private Hospital, Castlecrag Private Hospital, Hunters Hill Private Hospital, Northside Cremorne Clinic and Ramsay Pharmacy North Shore.

In a media statement provided to the AJP, Ramsay said it has been working closely with the NSW Public Health Unit to identify any close contacts of the pharmacy staff member, so they can be advised to test and isolate.

Several Ramsay locations have been deep cleaned, including the pharmacy and hospital areas visited by the staff member.

Ramsay also said that from Friday, 18 December, several changes were to be implemented in all its NSW hospitals.

These include:

  • All visitors and staff to wear masks at all times while in the hospital
  • Patients to wear masks when in public areas of the hospital
  • Visitors restricted to two visitors per patient per day.

Patients who live in the Northern Beaches are being screened and temperature checked and must wear a mask outside their hospital room, Ramsay says.

Ramsay Health’s Chief Nurse and Clinical Services Director, Dr Bernadette Eather, thanked staff for their continuing efforts over a long and difficult year.

“Health care workers across the country have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure patients have been able to access high quality, safe and effective care,” Dr Eather said.

“To have a number of staff identified as close contacts who require self-isolation over the Christmas period is incredibly disappointing and our thoughts are with them at this stressful time.”

Meanwhile NSW Health has added a number of locations to its watch list, including a pharmacy.

People are being asked to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms if they have been to locations in Avalon and other parts of Sydney at certain times.

These include the Chemist Warehouse on Old Barrenjoey Road, Avalon Beach, between 5.20pm and 5.25pm on Monday, 14 December.

A number of other locations are also listed, with people who have been there on the time and date indicated asked to self-isolate until 14 days since they were last there, and get tested for the novel coronavirus.

These include the Avalon RSL Club, Avalon Bowlo, the Kirribili Club, the Penrith RSL and more.

NSW Health said late Friday morning that 28 cases are now associated with the Avalon cluster – 25 to either the RSL, Bowlo or both. The links of two cases were under urgent investigation.

Northern Beaches residents were asked to stay home as much as possible on Friday and over the weekend.

They are also asked to undergo COVID-19 testing, with NSW Health reporting that in the 24 hours to 8pm Thursday night, 7,531 tests had been reported, and 10,582 in the 24 hours preceding that.

Some residents reported that actually accessing tests, however, was not without its difficulties.

A source told AJP that the lines outside hospitals were so long in the Northern Beaches area on Friday morning that they were turned away from three different testing venues and told to come back later.

They eventually got tested after waiting three hours in a queue at one hospital.

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