Stay vigilant to avoid infection, nurse warns

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Being in Alert Level 3 does not mean people should let their guard down, a Central Otago infection control nurse says.
Jill Hansen, of Central Otago Health Services and Dunstan Hospital, said both patients and staff supported the robust infection prevention and control processes in place.

The basic message remained the same: good hand-washing, and for clinical staff the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients who met the relevant criteria.
If anyone was prepared for the Covid-19 pandemic it was Mrs Hansen, who has worked at Central Otago Health Services for many years, providing advice and guidance on infection control procedures.

She was an integral part of annual preparations for the flu season, and also provided extra training for interaction with any patients with an infectious disease.
‘‘Continuous, ongoing education for all staff is important and includes how to apply protective equipment — donning and doffing, as it is referred to — and ensuring robust cleaning procedures are in place.’’

The message for hospital staff had been the same as for the public, and it remained the same at Level 3 as it was at Level 4. That was to avoid a return to Level 4.
‘‘There have been many changes in my role since we activated Central Otago Health Services’ emergency operations centre in response to Covid-19,’’ Mrs Hansen said.
‘‘With a robust isolation policy and guidelines in place, alongside good staff adherence, patients in isolation present a low risk of transmission.
‘‘In addition, staff perform extrachecks and precautions before they leave work and when they arrive home.’’