Healthcare workers are undergoing random testing as a precautionary measure to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in hospitals and other state facilities.
Earlier today, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci confirmed two new cases of coronavirus, one of whom was a healthcare worker at Karen Grech Hospital.
Malta also had its sixth coronavirus-related victim earlier, a 53-year-old surgeon and academic who contracted the virus while being treated at hospital for another, pre-existing condition. Three other COVID-19 related fatalities had also contracted the virus while undergoing treatment at a hospital or while at a state care home.
This news has raised questions about the safety standards in these facilities which account for four of the six coronavirus deaths in Malta.
“A week ago we introduced random testing for healthcare workers,” Gauci said, when asked what measures have been put into place to safeguard patients from the risk of getting infected by healthcare workers.
“These tests identify if you have the virus at that time. Those who are asymptomatic are told to stay at home and get tested there.”
In addition to random testing, various infection control measures have been put in place to help reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.
On the other hand, health authorities are administering PPE to healthcare workers on a risk-assessment basis as opposed to offering every healthcare worker the equipment.
“There are situations where people are wearing PPE especially in cases where there are patients with symptoms or patients we know are positive,” she said.
A total of 30 healthcare workers at Mater Dei have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus since the virus arrived in Malta.