Anyone who completed mandatory coronavirus quarantine in Victoria over five months of this year has been asked to get checked out for blood-borne viruses like Hepatitis A, Hepatitis C, and HIV, after potential cross-contamination of blood glucose test kits were discovered.
In an incident response statement issued yesterday afternoon, Safer Care Victoria confirmed it was contacting 243 people who had blood glucose level tests in quarantine between March 29 and August 20, based on information on their health records.
Safer Care confirmed that testing kits – finger-prick tests that are intended to be used on one person per test – were used on multiple people within quarantine, posing the risk of cross-contamination as the body of the device can hang on to microscopic traces of blood, even if the needles are changed after each test.
CEO of Safer Care Victoria, Associate Professor Ann Maree Keenan said that the clinical risk of anyone becoming infected with blood-borne diseases is low, but the health agency will be conducting an investigation into how this happened.
“The health of past quarantine residents is our immediate concern, so arranging screening for them is our absolute priority. The clinical risk is low. But if you are at all worried you had this test – and we have not contacted you yet – please call us,” she said.
“Right now, we won’t be able to answer the many questions people will have about how this happened. Be assured that Safer Care Victoria is conducting a full review into how and why this device came to be in use.
“I hope that we will be able to bring peace of mind through getting people in for testing, and through the findings of our review.”
Safer Care also stressed that this cross-contamination risk is not present to anyone in quarantine currently, as the blood glucose level test devices were removed in late August. It also has confirmed that this poses no threat of the spread of coronavirus, as it’s not transmitted by blood.
The health agency has also urged that anyone who had the test while in quarantine to contact the patient line on 1800 356 061 to get information on what to do next, and how they can access arranged precautionary screening tests.