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Posted on 19 Oct 2020
Incident response/review

This review has now been finalised. Read more

People who may have had their blood glucose levels tested while in quarantine accommodation are being contacted to undergo precautionary screening, due to the potential risk of cross-contamination and infection.

Safer Care Victoria is – as of this morning – contacting 243 people who had a blood glucose level test between 29 March and 20 August, based on information in their health record. 

As a precaution, contact will also be made with those who had conditions or episodes that may have required the test.

If people are concerned they had this test – and have not yet been contacted – they can call the dedicated patient line on 1800 356 061 (8am to 8pm, seven days a week). Interpreters are available on request.

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.

The clinical risk of infection is low. However, for reassurance, access to confidential testing will be arranged.

  • There is no risk to people who did not have a blood glucose level test.
  • There is no risk to those who used their own personal device to test their blood glucose level. 
  • There is no ongoing risk to people currently in COVID-19 accommodation, as the devices were removed in August.
  • There is no risk that this could have spread coronavirus (COVID-19), as it is not transmitted by blood.

A blood glucose level test (also known as a finger prick test) involves a finger prick to get a drop of blood. The testing devices in question were designed for repeated use by one person, not multiple people. The needles can be changed between use, but the body of the devices can retain microscopic amounts of blood.

These devices are mostly used to test blood glucose levels in people with diabetes – however, most people with diabetes will have their own device and would not have required a test by a nurse or doctor during quarantine. 

The test may also be used for pregnant women, people who fainted or people who are generally unwell.

While the immediate concern is for the health of former quarantine accommodation residents, Safer Care Victoria will also examine what happened and why, and make recommendations for system improvements.

To quote A/CEO Safer Care Victoria Adj Assoc Prof Ann Maree Keenan

“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.

“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.”

Media contact Graeme Walker 9096 7296

Read more information about this review