Australia Rockhampton nurse referred to corruption watchdog over aged-care scare

04:02  23 may  2020
04:02  23 may  2020 Source:   brisbanetimes.com.au

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A ROCKHAMPTON aged care nurse has been referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission after an alleged breach of public health The aged care nurse is suspected to have contracted the virus while on a trip to Brisbane for a medical appointment. She was working at a nurses ' station with

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A general view of the North Rockhampton Nursing Centre in Rockhampton, Queensland. © AAP Image/Levi Appleton A general view of the North Rockhampton Nursing Centre in Rockhampton, Queensland. The matter surrounding a nurse whose COVID-19 diagnosis sparked a health scare at the Central Queensland aged-care facility where she worked while unwell and awaiting test results has been referred to the state's corruption watchdog.

Queensland Health has confirmed the nurse - now in home isolation - has been suspended from her position, pending the outcome of an investigation.

The Crime and Corruption Commission notification is understood to be a requirement, as the matter involves a breach of public health directions.

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Queensland health authorities are investigating into why a Rockhampton aged care nurse worked while infected with coronavirus. Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles said all staff at a Rockhampton nursing home which has an outbreak have tested negative.

Health authorities suspect the nurse may have contracted the virus during a trip to Brisbane earlier in the month and are yet to detect a single additional case among the North Rockhampton Nursing Centre's more than 270 staff and residents.

In a statement, a Queensland Health spokesperson said terms of reference for an external investigation announced last week were being finalised.

"This matter has also been referred to the CCC," they said. "It would not be appropriate to engage in further public commentary regarding the circumstances until all investigations are complete.

"Our focus remains on controlling COVID-19, reducing its spread, and protecting North Rockhampton Nursing Centre residents and staff, and the community, from infection.

"The most important thing is that every single Queenslander knows that if they have symptoms, they should get tested immediately and stay at home until the tests are returned."

Authorities believe the nurse contracted the virus in Brisbane and was infectious from May 3 before showing symptoms on May 5.

She returned a positive test on May 14 after working a number of shifts and being active in the community.

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service chief executive Steve Williamson last week said the nurse had also been on the site "after being sent for testing".

"That's outside the direction we've set for our staff and we will look into that further - in detail - but our focus currently is 100 per cent on ensuring safety in the facility," he said.

A second round of testing as part of measures to monitor and contain any potential outbreak in the centre or wider community has so far confirmed the initial negative results returned by all affected residents.

Results from further testing, conducted on Friday, were due on Saturday.

Click here for up-to-date coverage of the COVID-19 crisis on the Microsoft News app — available on Windows 10, iOS and Android

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