COVID testing of visitors to hospitals to be scrapped

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COVID testing of visitors to hospitals to be scrapped

As the state starts scaling back pandemic protocols and returning health staff to other clinical duties, mandatory COVID testing of visitors to WA hospitals will be scrapped.

The state government is going to shift into a new phase of the Pandemic response, which will begin on August 15, and will see the state's protocols shift from a red alert level to blue.

When WA has passed its most recent peak of COVID- 19, it makes sense to take practical measures to free up some burdens, health minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said.

On Tuesday, WA recorded 2,965 new COVID infections, with 358 people in hospital and 11 in intensive care.

The state's caseload has fallen for weeks after passing a winter peak last month.

There are changes that are part of the blue alert level, including extending visiting hours, and asymptomatic visitors no longer being required to produce a negative RAT unless visiting high-risk areas or vulnerable patients.

Visitors to hospitals will need to be vaccinated or have proof of an exemption, but staff will only be conducting spot checks.

The Chief Health Officer and expert infection control teams from the WA health system have endorsed this approach to scaling back the COVID response in hospitals, which has been endorsed by Ms Sanderson, as well as the scaling back of the COVID response in hospitals.

This is balanced with the need to protect our staff, and our most vulnerable patients from serious illness. The scaling back of COVID measures came after WA broke new records in ambulance ramping last month.

Ambulances were parked outside hospitals waiting to transfer patients for 6,983 hours throughout July.

COVID measures will be put in place at hospitals, including the two visit per patient rule, testing of symptomatic patients presenting in emergency departments and elective surgeries.

All staff will need to wear at least a surgical mask, but those working in high-risk areas or caring for vulnerable patients will need to wear particulate filter respirator masks.