The Coffs Harbour Health Campus.
The Coffs Harbour Health Campus. The Coffs Coast Advocate

Coffs hospital declared free of 'superbug'

A 'SUPERBUG' outbreak at Coffs Harbour Base Hospital will be declared officially over next Friday.

An outbreak of Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE) in August saw 35 patients identified as testing positive to VRE.

Elective surgery was suspended at the hospital for a time and a special double cleaning infection control program and quarantine measures were introduced.

All services are now back to normal and campus manager Margaret Bennett said their main focus now was on screening people who had been in contact with patients with VRE.

Two VRE-positive patients remain in Coffs Harbour Hospital, three in Bellingen Hospital and one in Macksville Hospital.

A total of 324 people were identified as having been in contact with VRE patients during the outbreak and so far 216 of them have been cleared, while testing is continuing on some and others are being followed up.

Mrs Bennett said she could not force people to be tested if they did not want to.

She said she was 'incredibly grateful and proud' of the team at the hospital, their professionalism and preparedness to work extra hours which had brought the outbreak to a satisfactory conclusion.

She said at any one time, about two per cent of the population was colonised with VRE.

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