Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Auckland DHB working alongside metro Auckland and Waikato DHB to solve staffing issues

Hospital staff levels are being managed with “contingency plans” and expectant mothers have been transported from Auckland Hospital’s neonatal ICU after a parent of a baby tested positive for Covid-19.

Auckland DHB Covid-19 incident controller Alex Pimm said in a statement tonight testing of hospital staff and babies has been undertaken after a Covid-19 positive parent of a baby was in their neonatal ICU across three days.

The parent with Covid-19 was in Auckland Hospital in Grafton on Thursday September 30 between 7am and midnight, Friday October 1 between 4 pm and midnight and on Saturday October 2 between 2.30pm and 10pm.

“After the parent of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) baby tested positive for Covid-19 on 3 October, we immediately activated our plans to prevent the spread of the virus within the hospital and keep babies in our care safe,” Pimm said.

“Movements in and out of NICU are still restricted, and we’ve been testing all staff, whānau and babies in the unit as a precaution.”

Pimm confirmed a small group of expecting mothers have been transferred to other nearby maternity units for neonatal care.

“At this stage none of the babies or parents have been confirmed as Covid-19 positive,” Pimm said.

“We are working closely with Auckland Regional Public Health Service to contact trace. All of the babies in the unit and those who were recently discharged have been monitored closely as part of their ongoing care and treatment.”

Pimm said contingency plans are in place to manage staffing levels as Auckland Hospital neonatal ICU until it is staff for all to return back to work. This means working with metro Auckland and Waikato DHB colleagues.

“We are managing staffing levels via contingency plans until it is safe for everyone to return to work. This means working with our metro Auckland and Waikato DHB colleagues,” Pimm said.

“A small number of expectant mothers have been transferred to other nearby maternity units for neonatal care. We know this may be distressing for some families and we apologise for this.”

Auckland Hospital in the suburb of Grafton was listed as a location of interest on three separate occasions by the Ministry of Health this afternoon.

A Northern Region Health Coordination Centre (NRHCC) spokesperson confirmed the times were related to the case involving a parent of a baby in NICU testing positive, which was announced earlier this week.

Anyone who was at the hospital at the same time as the exposure times is being advised to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms develop, the Ministry said to get a test and stay at home until you get a negative result and until 24 hours after symptoms resolve.

The NRHCC spokesperson reinforced this advice, saying anyone who visited the hospital during the specific times should self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms.

Pimm said ADHB was supporting the families in their neonatal ICU who need it following the positive case.

“We know this is a time of much uncertainty. We are providing support to any parents, patients and staff members who need it,” Pimm said.

“This includes supporting the Covid-19 positive parent and their family, who our thoughts are with as they manage the stress of the positive test result as well as the worry around having a newborn baby in intensive care.

“The public can be assured that if they, their child or a loved one need our care, they will be safe at Auckland City and Starship Hospitals.”

Auckland DHB reminded that visitor restrictions remain in place at all of their facilities: Auckland City Hospital, Starship Hospital and Greenlane Clinical Centre.

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