Crazy things can happen in a hospital when there’s no one looking. A patient at an Auckland, New Zealand hospital reported seeing two other people having sex behind a curtain in the facility. They say the real problem is that there are too many visitors wandering the halls now that the country has virtually eradicated COVID-19.
The first patient, Kevin, says they saw a young woman disappear behind a curtain to have sex with another patient on their ward.
“It was pretty obvious what was happening in there,” they told a local news outlet. “There was four people in the ward, and it was all just a bit staggering, all very embarrassing,” he added.
Kevin then alerted hospital staff of the encounter.
“There was a view that, ‘Hey, don’t be a spoilsport,’ but it was the wider covid question that I was raising, and in fact, I made a complaint to the staff on that,” said Kevin.
Too Many Visitors?
His concern comes amid a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in New Zealand, but it still has one of the lowest transmission rates in the world with 3,866 total cases and 21 deaths to date. The country is currently reporting around 19 new cases a day, a far cry from its peak last August when there were over four times that many being reported.
Kevin estimates that he saw around 60 visitors each day during his three-day stay in the facility.
The country has used aggressive lockdowns to keep the spread of the delta variant in check, but many hospitals have kept their doors open for visitors.
Local nurses’ organizations recently expressed their frustration at the number of visitors at three Auckland hospitals.
“We cannot afford to have people unwittingly bringing covid into the system, threatening the patients who are vulnerable,” said Kate Weston, the acting nursing and professional services manager with the New Zealand Nurses Organization.
“Right now, it’s really important that as far as possible, we limit the visiting. Having too many people coming in and out is risking the safety of the patients and it’s risking the safety of our nursing workforce,” Weston added.
Ashley Bloomfield, director of the country’s Health Ministry, said, “It will be our job to make sure the [hospitals] have got that to set up principles and guidance,” during a press conference on Thursday without elaborating on what those guidelines might be.
The Auckland District Board of Health told the Washington Post that the current guidelines are in line with those outlined by the Health Ministry.
“The safety of our staff, patients and visitors is a priority for us and we have undertaken a full risk assessment for this policy and are comfortable that any risks are well managed,” a spokeswoman said. “We have visitor screening at our entrances to check for symptoms of COVID-19 and ensure the policy is complied with.”
The board has since halved the number of visitors to just one person a day per patient with a time limit of two hours.
During a recent press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her team were pressed on the allegations that two people were having sex in the hospital.
“Would you say this is a high-risk activity in the current climate?” the reporter asked.
“I think it is a high-risk activity, potentially,” New Zealand health official Ashley Bloomfield responded with a smile. “However, I don’t know any of the details about that interaction.”
After making a series of dramatic facial expressions, Arden then chimed in with, “I would say, generally, regardless of the covid status, that kind of thing shouldn’t generally be part of visiting hours, I would have thought.”
The PM quickly became a meme on social media as she went from shock to embarrassment to being impressed with the idea of having a romp in the hospital.
New Zealand is clearly taking the recent outbreak seriously.
The country’s COVID-19 Minister, Chris Hipkins, set off his fair share of headlines after encouraging the public to socially distance when they “spread their legs.”