Person in Centenary Hospital for Women and Children ward tests positive to COVID

A positive COVID-19 case was detected in a maternity ward at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children last week, but the Health Minister is confident infectious diseases experts have the situation under control.

The case was discovered on Thursday but Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith would not reveal if it was a staff member or mother who contracted the virus to protect the patient's privacy.

"Infection prevention and control and infectious diseases experts and in collaboration with the public health team responded swiftly, managing the risk and identifying and contacting any affected staff or patients. And all of the areas that have been impacted by this have had deep cleans," she said.

"We can't 100 per cent guarantee that someone with COVID will not turn up in any part of our health system, but the infection prevention and control measures and the PPE measures we have in place are designed to protect everybody."

It is unknown how many staff or patients came into contact with the positive case, however no further cases have been linked.

The Health Minister said the case was not announced publicly because all contacts were able to be contacted directly.

"There have been quite a number of potential exposures in our both hospitals and community health services where we've been able to identify everybody involved.

"We notify them directly. Those are not notified as public exposure sites so most of those don't get discussed publicly."

There is no requirement for patients who are not symptomatic to be tested for COVID-19 on arrival to Canberra's hospitals, but this policy continues to be reviewed by the clinical health emergency control centre.


Ms Stephen-Smith said rapid antigen testing was not appropriate in healthcare settings because PCR tests were more accurate and could be processed quickly in the hospital.

Those who come through emergency with COVID-19 symptoms are tested and treated in the red zone.

Women who are giving birth who display symptoms have extra requirements for wearing personal protective and masks in the hospital.

Visitors have been banned from Canberra hospitals since the lockdown started on August 12 unless in exceptional circumstances in birthing, end of life and for paediatric care.

She said expectant parents should feel comfortable about going to hospital for the birth of their baby.

A person who was at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. Picture: Jeffrey Chan

A person who was at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. Picture: Jeffrey Chan

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This story Person in Canberra maternity ward tests positive to COVID first appeared on The Canberra Times.