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In light of the current outbreak, and in response to the public health needs of our community, Albury Wodonga Health (AWH) have made a formal request to Ramsay Health Care (Ramsay) to establish a COVID ward in the east wing of the Border Cancer Hospital.

The 10-bed ward (referred to as Medical Ward Three) will be run by AWH, and is located on the top floor of the Border Cancer Hospital, operated by Ramsay.

“We are thankful to Ramsay for their support in managing this current outbreak, and allowing us the use of their facilities,” AWH CEO, Michael Kalimnios said.

The Border Cancer Hospital CEO, Sheryl Keir, wished to assure the community that the safety and wellbeing of patients and health care workers at The Border Cancer Hospital remained the number one priority.

“This ward has been physically isolated from the remainder of the hospital by Airlocks and there will be no mixing of staff between the two areas,” Ms Keir said.

The agreement to use the hospital for this purpose follows a detailed assessment by engineering consultants of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems against the Victorian Health Building Authority (VHBA) Health Technical Advice and recommendations to minimise the risk of airborne transmission. The recommended modifications to reduce the risk of airborne infection spread have been completed.

Mr Kalimnios said “from an infection control perspective, use of The Border Cancer Hospital proved the safest option, due to the isolation rooms, the HVAC system, and the capacity for negative air pressure.”

 “The ability to have isolation rooms for the management of patients who are suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases will help protect the health of all patients and staff accessing our health services,” Mr Kalimnios said.

“All measures have been addressed to ensure that infection control remains the highest priority, and that the health of vulnerable patients within AWH and Ramsay facilities are not compromised.”

Medical Ward Three will be fully operational, and able to accommodate COVID positive or suspected positive patients, from as early as next week.

Ms Keir said The Border Cancer Hospital will continue to care for the community, with all other services expected to proceed as normal during this time.

“Strict infection control and infrastructure protocols are in place via our comprehensive pandemic management program to protect patients, employees and doctors against COVID-19.”

The establishment of Medical Ward Three will also minimise the need for local patients to be transferred to Melbourne for treatment.

“Rather than transport patients to Melbourne metro hospitals for specialised care, we will be able to deliver care locally and effectively act as a COVID-streaming hospital for the region.”

“Currently we have three isolation rooms available to support COVID positive patients, however these additional beds will mean that we can service the patients locally should they need in-hospital care,” Michael Kalimnios explained.

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