The kitchen at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) has been closed until March 14, 2021 after several members of staff tested positive for COVID-19.
As a result, the QEH is outsourcing the delivery of meals to hundreds of patients at the facility as well as several Government isolation centres across the island.
A statement issued by the acting chief operations officer, Louise Bobb, said a single staff member in the kitchen tested positive on February 16, 2021 and as part of the contact tracing exercise, the level of risk was determined on a case by case basis. High risk staff were removed from the kitchen, the area was deep cleaned and phased mass COVID-19 PCR testing was conducted across the kitchen staff and management.
Over the past week, 12 of the 62 people tested were positive for COVID-19.
“This number is sufficiently significant to trigger the decision for closure of the kitchen. The remaining members of staff will be quarantined,” the statement said.
Currently, the kitchen provides meals for about 600 patients as well as the Enmore Isolation Centre, Blackman and Gollop Isolation Centre, and a private nursing home which has been transformed into an isolation facility under the operation of QEH after numerous positive COVID tests amongst patients and staff of the home.
In-patient meals at the QEH and Enmore will be provided by the School Meals Department, while a private catering company was contracted to provide meals to the Blackman and Gollop Isolation Centre and nursing home isolation facility until March 13, 2021.
A deep clean of the work site and communal spaces such as the lunch and restrooms will be done.
“In reopening, we will take measures to reduce density in the kitchen and still meet deadlines for the delivery of meals to patients. We will also reinforce cleaning of high touch surfaces, and infection prevention and control best-practices for our kitchen. Additional steps to sensitise staff to best practices at home and in social spaces will also be taken,” the statement said. (PR/SAT)