Tests have revealed an asbestos contamination at the Alice Springs Hospital, prompting the closure of its pathology building.
In a statement the Northern Territory Health Department said the building had been closed and secured pending the removal of asbestos.
“The most recent air sampling and swab testing for asbestos in the pathology building has returned a low positive result, following minor works over the weekend,” it said.
“The Department of Health has engaged a licenced asbestos removalist to assess the problem and development a remediation plot and NT Worksafe is providing advice on the matter.”
It is understood the pathology building processes up to 1,000 tests a day.
The department said it had taken steps to make sure no essential clinical services were affected.
“During this time pathology services will be redirected … to ensure there is no disruption to essential clinical service,” it said.
It said a private pathology company was also helping with any “urgent testing”.
Employees have been told of the contamination and the department said it was in the process of making contact with patients who may have visited the building earlier this week.
NT Health said it would provide a full update early next week.
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