Victoria’s botched hotel quarantine program continues to astonish, this time with news that some 243 individuals have been put at risk of HIV and other blood borne diseases in light of cross-contamination from incorrect usage of blood glucose test devices.

In a statement, Safe Care – part of the Department Health and Human Services set up to monitor the state’s healthcare quality and safety – confirmed that between March 29 and August 20 several blood glucose test devices were used in necessary testing on multiple individuals in hotel quarantine.

Blood glucose level testing devices intended for use by one person were used across multiple residents. This presents a low clinical risk of cross-contamination and blood borne viruses – Hepatitis B and C, and HIV.”

Taking a small sample of blood from a fingertip, the monitors are intended for repeated use by only one person, and while the needle is changed between uses low level traces of blood can still remain in the cartridges.

Responding to the news, Simon Ruth CEO of Thorne Harbour Health was quick to reassure Victorian’s that the incident presents only a low clinical risk of cross-contamination and infection.

“We understand the clinical risk of transmission of HIV is low in this case and that the Government is taking precautions to address any concerns,” Ruth told Star Observer. “HIV still matters and it’s important to avoid unnecessary risk exposure; however, from what we have been advised occurred, the risk of contracting HIV through this process is close to zero.”

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 Speaking to media on Tuesday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews labelled the incident a “clinical error that was made some time ago” saying, “Safer Care Victoria have made some announcements in relation to a clinical error that was made some time ago, very low risk, but you can’t take any risks with these things. You have to follow them up properly and that’s exactly what has happened.”

Of the 243 people believed to be at risk, 141 have so far been contacted and 79 of those have taken up the precautionary measure of having their blood tests screened.  

This most recent gaff, of course comes in the wake of health minister Jenny Mikakos and secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Chris Eccles both having resigned over their roles in the Victoria’s hotel quarantine fiasco.

So far upwards of 90% of Victoria’s deadly second wave can be attributed back to an outbreak in hotel quarantine.

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