NSW Health has upgraded its COVID-19 risk rating to amber requiring masks to be worn in all hospital areas and visitor numbers monitored to protect staff and patients.
NSW Health Deputy Secretary Deb Willcox said the requirements in all public hospitals and health facilities are due to increasing COVID-19 case numbers in the community.
“Implementing these changes now means that our staff and the community can look forward to the festive season with greater confidence,” Ms Willcox said.
“Family and loved ones can still spend time with patients however, we do ask people to please limit the number of visitors coming to see patients at any one time.
“Visitors as well as staff will now also need to wear a mask in all areas of a hospital or health service, not just in the patient areas, as was previously the requirement.”
There were 22,672 people across NSW diagnosed with COVID-19 in the week ending 12 November, an increase of nearly 52.8 per cent on figures from the previous week.
A significant factor in upgrading alert levels was the number of health staff unable to work due to positive COVID-19 status, and/or while awaiting a negative test result.
“As of 16 November, there were 1,089 health care workers in isolation up from 645 the previous week,” Ms Willcox said.
“This is an important indicator for our health system that we need to find the right balance with simple measures that can help us avoid more significant changes,”
“I also want to acknowledge the NSW Health staff who continue make the very best decisions for our patients and community each day as we continue to navigate COVID-19.”
People are reminded if you test positive or have any cold or flu symptoms, please stay home. If you do have to leave your house, wear a mask and avoid going to any high-risk settings, including hospitals, and aged and disability care facilities.
Make sure you are up to date with your vaccinations. For those over 50 this means four doses, and if you are immunocompromised five doses. For those over 30, you have an option of a fourth dose. Vaccination is your best protection against severe illness and evidence from overseas is showing that vaccination reduces long COVID.
NSW Health again urges people to wear a mask when indoors or in crowded places. It gives you and any vulnerable people who may be near you an extra layer of protection.