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Monday, July 22, 2024

Fears of hepatitis, HIV contamination in VIC hotel quarantine testing

Victoria’s health department is contacting around 240 people who took part in the state’s COVID-19 hotel quarantine program after it was revealed that single-use blood glucose testing kits were used multiple times, leading to fears that test recipients may have been contaminated with hepatitis B or C and HIV.

“We have reviewed all resident health records to identify anyone who may have had their blood glucose level tested while in quarantine accommodation,” the department said today.

“We are already contacting people by phone, or by letter if we can’t get through. You may be contacted by staff from the Department of Health and Human Services or Alfred Health.”

The finger-prick blood tests could have been carried out on anyone in quarantine between 29 March and 20 August, the department said.

“We are now contacting everyone who may have had their blood glucose level tested while in quarantine accommodation before 20 August 2020.”

While describing the risk as “clinically low” the department says there is a low risk of cross-contamination and transmission of blood-borne viruses, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

“If you have contracted a blood borne virus, we will arrange for free and confidential medical follow up, counselling and support,” the department said.

We understand you will have many questions about how this happened and why.

“While our immediate concern is for your health, we are undertaking a broader review to examine what happened, and to make recommendations for systems improvements.”

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