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Hospital steps up Covid posture to amber, new testing procedures in place

Photo by Eyleen Gomez

The GHA’s Covid-19 operational status was raised to amber over Christmas, with the operational threat level raised to moderate as the number of active cases rose to 501 on Tuesday.

The change is precautionary and is not anticipated to have any significant operational impact for patients.

Outpatient activity and priority, time sensitive surgeries, interventions, screenings and investigations will continue as normal.

But the spread of the Omicron variant due to community transmission has also prompted changes in procedures for testing staff and visitors in St Bernard’s Hospital.

There were 77 new cases detected on the Rock on Tuesday, 57 of them residents including 17 who were close contacts of an existing case.

There were two people in the critical care unit at St Bernard’s Hospital and none inn the Covid-19 ward.

The number of identified cases of the Omicron variant rose to 132.

Visitors to hospital wards are now required to have a lateral flow test at the ward on arrival.

Visitors should not attend the Mid Town drive-through centre for a test to visit the hospital.

Visitors for short periods of time - less than one hour - will not require a lateral flow test on the day of the visit.

All visitors to any ward for any period of time must provide proof of vaccination - first two doses and 14 days after, the third dose - and are required to wear a mask and apron for the duration of the visit.

Patients attending for an outpatient or GP appointment do not require a lateral flow test but must wear a mask and apron for the appointment.

Unless by exception, patients attending for an outpatient or GP appointment must attend the appointment alone.

“In-house testing mitigates the pressure that this measure would have on the Mid-Town testing facility and makes the most effective use of staff time whilst safeguarding the wellbeing of patients,” said Health Minister Samantha Sacramento.

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