Australia

Hundreds of Qld hospital staff in quarantine over COVID-19 fears

Hundreds of staff at a busy hospital west of Brisbane are in quarantine, awaiting COVID-19 results after positive cases worked while infectious. At Ipswich Hospital, 220 staff are in quarantine after a nurse tested positive. Health Minister Steven Miles said she was a contact of a known case.The woman is the fourth healthcare worker infected…

Hundreds of staff at a busy hospital west of Brisbane are in quarantine, awaiting COVID-19 results after positive cases worked while infectious.

At Ipswich Hospital, 220 staff are in quarantine after a nurse tested positive. Health Minister Steven Miles said she was a contact of a known case.

The woman is the fourth healthcare worker infected from the hospital.

The hospital will remain open for emergency, but other appointments have been relocated or delayed until staff complete their quarantine.

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Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the sacrifices of the state’s health workers was not going unnoticed.

“This is a difficult time for our healthcare workers and I’m extraordinarily grateful to every single one of them for the care they’re providing day-in, day-out at risk to themselves and their families,” she said.

The nurse was one of two people to test positive on Sunday, the other being a sister of a previously infected Staines Memorial College student.

Meanwhile on Russell Island, thousands of residents are being cautioned to monitor for symptoms after an infected woman visited the island, off Brisbane.

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“It is really important for the next week at least that anyone on Russell Island who develops any symptoms at all come forward and get tested,” Dr Young said.

It comes as 50 Queensland paramedics will be trained to set up pop-up fever clinics and quickly test following a community outbreak of COVID-19.

Mr Miles said paramedics would assist with testing to make it “more convenient” for the public.

“We’ve learned throughout this metropolitan outbreak that we need a greater and more flexible ability to stand up more fever clinics quickly and do more testing quickly,” Mr Miles said.

The state’s pharmacy union has called on the Queensland Government to scrap their plans to set up COVID-19 testing in community pharmacies, over fears they would turn into “COVID petri dishes”.

Queensland Director of Professional Pharmacists Australia Adam Kerslake said the union and medical bodies had been trying to convince the state government to change its mind “for weeks” but the pleas had fallen on deaf ears.

“The Government’s proposal is dangerous for pharmacists and dangerous for the community,” Mr Kerslake said.

“It could turn pharmacies into COVID petri dishes and result in the pandemic sweeping across the community.

“Our advice to the community is that if this testing rolls out, stay away from pharmacies until the Government changes its – it’s not safe.

“If this isn’t managed correctly, pharmacies will turn into COVID hot spots, spreading infection like wildfire across the state.”

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