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Published Tuesday 26 May 2020

Capital & Coast DHB has completed its investigation into how a registered nurse contracted COVID-19.

The investigation found that the nurse contracted the virus while caring for COVID-positive patients at Wellington Regional Hospital, most likely from touching a contaminated surface.

“The nurse who contracted COVID-19 while working at Wellington Regional Hospital continues to recover, and we sincerely apologise again to them and their family for the anxiety and suffering this has caused,” said Chief Executive Fionnagh Dougan.

“We take staff safety seriously and, in this instance, acknowledge that we failed our employee.”

The nurse stopped work as soon as they experienced symptoms, and an investigation was immediately launched to determine if the virus was contracted within the hospital. The 79 other staff who worked in the COVID ward were tested, and none tested positive for the virus.

The investigation found there to have been no failure in regards to PPE. It also resulted in a number of recommendations that have been, or are being, implemented. These include enhanced processes for admitting pandemic patients, better documentation and record-keeping, and improved and faster cleaning schedules to ensure there is no lag between decisions and actions.

“We are confident that this was an isolated one-off incident and that, overall, our rigorous infection control measures remain sufficient to prevent the spread of infection.

“Our existing measures, along with recommended improvements – not to mention the exemplary care provided by our compassionate and professional clinical staff – enable us to better ensure the safety of patients and staff within our hospitals.”