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Illawarra and Shoalhaven hospitals ramp up their COVID safety measures | Illawarra Mercury


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Two Wollongong residents have died due to COVID-19 on what has become the pandemic’s deadliest day for NSW, while hospitals ramp up safety measures. NSW Health said one was a man aged in his 70s from the Wollongong Local Government Area who was vaccinated; the other was a woman aged in her 60s from the Wollongong LGA who was unvaccinated. It is unknown whether they died in hospital or at home. Read more: Illawarra parents, childcare educators confused over ‘test to stay’ rules The fatalities were included in 21 reported for the state in the 24-hour period to 8pm on Tuesday, January 11. Meantime, there were 2169 new positive cases for COVID-19 recorded for the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) during that same period – and 34,759 new cases detected by PCR testing across NSW. There are now 93 COVID-positive patients being treated across hospitals in the ISLHD as reported in that same time period, up from 74 recorded the day before. It is not known if all patients reside in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven, or whether they have come from other areas. “Most were receiving care within allocated COVID wards,” according to ISLHD chief executive Margot Mains. Ms Mains said hospitals in the district had “reinforced their capacity” to meet a surging demand of COVID-related hospitalisations with four wards now managing COVID-positive patients at Wollongong Hospital. “There are currently patients with COVID being managed across four wards at Wollongong Hospital and one each at Shellharbour and Shoalhaven Hospitals,” she said. “There is also COVID capacity in Intensive Care Units in place at Wollongong and Shoalhaven Hospitals.” Read more: $1000 fines for failure to report positive RAT result: NSW unveils new testing rules Ms Mains said new management plans had been activated for individual wards to limit the movement of COVID-positive patients throughout hospitals, with the aim to reduce the risk of the virus spreading further. This includes additional infection control procedures when a patient being treated in a non-COVID ward develops symptoms and tests positive; a care plan established in line with COVID-19 patient management protocols; plus all staff being trained in infection control and wearing appropriate personal protection equipment. “Remaining patients on the ward undergo rapid antigen testing and will also be monitored for symptoms,” Ms Mains said. “Staff who work on the respective ward also undergo rapid antigen tests before the start of each shift and all continue to monitor for symptoms.” Meanwhile, the Bulli Hospital Urgent Care Centre will remain closed until mid-February due to stress on the health system. The Urgent Care Centre at Bulli Hospital closed before Christmas so staff could be redeployed to keep emergency departments running at fully capacity. The Illawarra Mercury newsroom is funded by our readers. You can subscribe to support our journalism here.

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