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New isolation room for Clutha Health First


To prepare for the arrival of COVID-19 in the South Otago community of Balclutha, Clutha Health First (CHF) decided to make some changes to better manage infectious patients within their hospital and general practice.

The need for an isolation room at CHF has in the past been overlooked despite a number of occasions where an infectious patient needed care and to be isolated.

In the meantime, staff have been using the main corridor to don and doff their PPE and have worked knowing there is a risk of viral transmission through the air.

Having seen the number of highly transmissible Delta cases increase rapidly alongside the new Omicron variant, and with the country ultimately moving to live with COVID in the community, the team at CHF decided it was time to solve this problem.

CHF are creating a proper isolation room to meet Australasian standards. This one-bed isolation room replaces a former two-bed inpatient room and will feature:

  • negative pressure air circulation on demand,
  • a separate anti-room with an observation window,
  • space for donning and doffing PPE,
  • a pass-through door for sharing supplies into the room without entering the room when required,
  • an intercom, and
  • exterior access to bring patients directly into the room from outside.

The new isolation room will be used for managing COVID patients in the short term but will also be an invaluable asset to the CHF services as a general isolation room in the future.

This innovation will enhance CHF’s capability and ensure CHF can better protect their patients and staff against COVID-19 and provide the best healthcare for their community.