19 March 2020

Health services restrict visits to ACT hospitals to contain COVID-19

| Ian Bushnell
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Canberra Hospital

Canberra Hospital is taking measures to protect staff and patients. Photo: File.

Visits to Canberra’s hospitals will be restricted under new measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, ACT Health has announced.

From today (19 March), Canberra’s public health services are introducing visitor restrictions at key sites including Canberra Hospital, University of Canberra Hospital and Calvary Public Hospital.

The changes will also affect Community Health Centres, and private hospitals including National Capital Private Hospital which are also introducing restrictions.

Admitted patients are being asked to limit visitors to one a day and outpatients should not bring anyone to appointments at hospital clinics, unless absolutely necessary, and then only one person.

If visitors are not well they should not visit the hospital.

But Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said children who were well would still be able to visit a parent or sibling, accompanied by an adult.

She said these changes would help to keep patients and staff safe.

“Our top priority is reducing the potential spread of COVID-19 in the ACT,” she said. “We need to ensure that those who are sick are not put at further risk. We also need to keep our health services staff safe and well so they can continue to provide healthcare to our community.

“Decisions like this are not taken lightly. I hope all Canberrans can understand that this decision has been made to ensure the safety of staff and patients across our health system.”

CHS Senior Specialist Infectious Diseases Dr Sanjaya Senanayake said that by restricting visitors to the hospital campus, ”we are trying to reduce the spread of COVID-19 amongst staff, patients, their friends and relatives, thereby protecting the people within our hospitals and in the wider community”.

The new measures will be reviewed in the coming days to determine whether more restrictions need to be implemented to keep patients and staff safe.

For more information on COVID-19 in the ACT go to health.act.gov.au.

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