Massive hotel quarantine bungle
Mistakes made when Victoria set up its hotel quarantine program exposed hundreds of people to the risk of contracting bloodborne viruses like HIV, an investigation has found.
Health officials took action in October last year amid concerns that finger pricking devices used to check the levels of glucose in someone's blood had been reused on multiple quarantine guests.
They were used for guests who had diabetes, were pregnant, or "generally unwell", officials said.
The blood glucose level monitoring devices should only be used for one person, because they can retain microscopic amounts of blood that could infect another person if there's a bloodborne virus present.
But the hurry with which the hotel quarantine program was set up meant officials didn't establish protocols that would have informed workers of this risk, a review by Safer Care Victoria has found.
Consequently, hundreds of people were endangered at the start of the coronavirus pandemic between March and August last year.
Out of 275 people who were referred for follow-up testing, no one was found to have contracted a bloodborne virus because of the failure, the review found.
However, there are still people out there who haven't been reached by the officials.
"Not all residents identified in the review of health records were able to be contacted, despite multiple attempts," Safer Care said in a statement.
The report said team leaders and nurses were not properly guided or trained on how to use the devices, and there was not enough oversight on the purchase of equipment suitable for use in quarantine.
"This review found the initial set up of the program was overwhelmed by the rapid time frames which made it challenging for leaders to establish robust systems for clinical governance," the investigators wrote.
All 13 recommendations from the review have been accepted, Safer Care said. Those include improvements to governance, logistics and supply, nursing leadership, and clinical practice guidelines.
Originally published as Victoria's massive hotel quarantine bungle