The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in its continuing efforts to keep the public informed on matters related to COVID-19 at the hospital wishes to advise the general public that on Tuesday, July 20, two members of its Laundry Department tested positive for COVID-19. Following the first positive result, the Ministry of Health and Wellness immediately commenced a contact tracing exercise and alerted the hospital’s Infection Prevention and Control Department which began an internal investigation revealing 36 primary and secondary contacts from the Department linked to the individual.
To protect staff and patients, the QEH immediately activated its staff exposure to COVID-19 protocol which required the quarantine and testing of laundry personnel with whom the affected individual was in contact. On Tuesday, July 20, 20 staff members were tested and from these, one primary contact tested positive for COVID-19. The remaining 16 contacts were tested on Wednesday, July 21, and all received negative results. All secondary contacts tested negative, and were allowed to return to work on Thursday, July 22, whilst the primary contacts have been placed into a government operated quarantine facility. These individuals will be retested on Friday, July 23 and allowed to leave quarantine and return to work if they obtain a second negative COVID-19 PCR test result.
To maintain the continuity of this vital service, relief workers have been engaged to ensure the department remains adequately staffed. Additionally, as is customary in these cases, a deep clean of the work area and communal spaces used by the individuals has also been conducted.
On Thursday, July 22, laundry staff underwent refresher training with the hospital’s Infection Prevention and Control Department to re-sensitize staff to best practices for curbing the spread of COVID-19 at home, in lunch rooms, in social spaces, and whilst carpooling.
Arising out of this incident, QEH Communications Specialist, Lyn-Marie Deane lauded the Department for its excellent vaccination uptake stating that “76 percent of the laundry’s staff are fully vaccinated, whilst another 3 percent are awaiting their second dose.” She went on to say that based on the department’s strong vaccination record and its adherence to the hospital’s COVID-19 protocols, the Laundry Department had set a stellar example for other departments at the QEH to follow, as well as the country as a whole.
Deane assured the public that “The Board, management and staff of the QEH will continue to make every effort to keep staff fully trained and equipped to protect themselves and keep patients safe, as new waves of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to affect the world.”