How has COVID-19 impacted our healthcare workers in NSW, and how can we best protect them into the future?
Healthcare workers (HCW) are likely to be at risk of exposures to COVID-19 in their workplace, regardless of whether or not they provide direct care for people with COVID-19. Once infected, there may be ongoing transmission to co-workers and patients undermining confidence and capacity in the health system. Risk of infection can be minimised with the application of comprehensive infection prevention and control practices. Systematic reporting and analysis of infection in HCW may provide insight into breakdown in these practices or other unrecognised factors. NSW Health has established processes to investigate, review and document infections in HCW as part of its public health response.
Medical epidemiologist and senior lecturer at The Kirby Institute Dr Louise Causer will provide an overview of processes and protocols developed for the investigation of HCW infections in NSW, discuss the findings of a recent retrospective review and describe methods for ongoing reporting and investigation of new HCW cases in NSW.
Senior Lecturer and NHMRC Early Career Fellow, Public Health Interventions Research Program and Surveillance Evaluation and Research Program, Kirby Institute
Louise Causer (MBBS, MScPH, DTM&H, PhD) is a medical epidemiologist and senior lecturer at The Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney. Louise has a long standing interest in the field of infectious diseases. Her focus in recent years has been on STIs, including syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhoea and the impact of integrating and scale up of point-of-care tests in remote communities across Australia, Papua New Guinea and other resource limited settings. Since March, Louise has been dedicated to projects supporting the public health response to COVID-19, with a focus on priority populations including healthcare workers and remote Aboriginal communities.
Prior to joining UNSW, Louise held positions as a medical epidemiologist and Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and medical officer to the Polio Eradication program at the World Health Organisation. Louise completed her clinical training with positions in Australia and USA.