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Visitors blocked as hospitals on red alert

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Last Tuesday, NSW Health confirmed that a 24-year-old unvaccinated nursing student worked in the rehabilitation room at Fairfield Hospital and in the cardiology and general abdominal surgery rooms at Royal North Shore from June 24-28.

Union Health Services Secretary Gerard Hayes said staff shortages at Royal North Shore and Fairfield hospitals will mean nurses at hospitals like Liverpool could be asked to work 12-hour shifts to fill the gaps.

More than 500 nurses and elderly care personnel are in isolation. Credit:Kate geraghty

“Liverpool Hospital will be downsized, staff will have to double shifts and there will be no increase in the workforce to cover shortfalls. Nurses will be borrowed from one hospital and given to another. Many hospitals already have lists with gaps, ”Hayes said.

Five rooms at Royal North Shore (renal, general medical, cardiology, neurology and surgical) are closed to admissions and visitors.

NSW recorded 18 new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday.

In addition to the 130 isolated employees, SummitCare also confirmed that 20 senior managers live on site and isolate themselves as a precautionary measure.

On Tuesday it was announced that a sixth resident of the facility had tested positive. The resident was the wife of a known case at the North West Sydney provider and had already been transferred to Westmead Hospital as a precaution. He had received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

A SummitCare spokesperson said that no residents showed symptoms of the virus at this stage.

The Health Department administered vaccinations to 24 residents at the facility on Tuesday, which continues in total lockdown with daily testing of residents and staff.

As the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney continues to grow, Health Director Kerry Chant said there were six people in intensive care: one in her 50s, one in her 60s, three in her 70s and one in her 80s.

Two patients are on ventilators and some younger patients have been hospitalized.

“This is an outstanding reminder that COVID can have an impact on you and your loved ones,” said Dr. Chant.

More than 32,000 tests were processed in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. Monday, about half the number processed last Monday.

“I would like to see more than 40,000 tests every day this week to give us the best assessment that we are not lacking chains of transmission,” said Dr Chant, noting that the focus of the outbreak was now in western Sydney.

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