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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Cleaner at Sydney aged care facility tests positive as virus also hits hospitals and ambos

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Minchinbury Manor – an aged care home in Rooty Hill – has confirmed a contract cleaner at the facility had been diagnosed with COVID-19, prompting the centre to isolate all residents and staff.

Residents and staff will be tested daily, and five close contacts of the cleaner have been identified and sent into isolation.

NSW is bracing for a surge in COVID-19 cases as the virus outbreak in Sydney infiltrates the health care system, with three paramedics in southwest Sydney testing positive, forcing at least 70 paramedics identified as close contacts into isolation.

A pregnant patient and a doctor at Liverpool Hospital, in Sydney’s southwest, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and a vaccinated nurse who worked at Westmead Hospital in a COVID-19 ward has also tested positive.

A healthcare worker at Liverpool and Campbelltown hospitals has returned a positive test.

NSW Health said the operating theatres at both hospitals had been deep cleaned.

NSW has recorded 97 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, with three-quarters of the new infections in Sydney’s southwest.

The daily number is up from 65 cases recorded on Thursday and compares to the previous high of 112 cases reported on Monday.

NSW Health has opened a new vaccination hub which will prioritise around 12,000 teachers, school staff and aged care workers in southwest Sydney at the Prairiewood Youth and Community Centre.

Around 200 cleaners at Westmead Hospital have been refusing to enter the hospital’s COVID-19 unit because they say they are being denied access to vital personal protective equipment.

Westmead Hospital management this afternoon, however said they would provide the workers with PPE including booties, hairnets and properly fitted masks.

Staff will also be able to shower at the hospital at the completion of their shift before going home.

Health Services Union NSW Secretary Gerard Hayes has welcomed the decision.

“Common sense has prevailed and we thank Westmead Hospital for overturning its decision,” Hayes said.

“Personal protective equipment will now be supplied to our dedicated cleaners who risk their own health to help keep the community safe.

“We will continue to fight for our members to ensure basic health and safety provisions are met and they are treated with the respect they deserve.

“We pay tribute to the hardworking men and women, who earn very modest incomes, who took a stand, not just for themselves but for their colleagues, families and the broader community.”

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