Cairns Health Heroes combatting COVID-19 crisis

Cairns doctors, nurses, paramedics and health professionals are expected to receive up to $152 million in extra funding to ramp up their COVID-19 preparations thanks to the Palaszczuk Government.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles today spoke with staff at Cairns hospital with Member for Cairns Michael Healy, Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt, Member for Barron River Craig Crawford and Member for Cook Cynthia Lui to thank staff for their dedication to protecting their community.

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said COVID-19 has impacted communities across our state, including here in Cairns

“I would like to thank the staff at Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service for their ongoing dedication to protecting their fellow Queenslanders,” Mr Healy said.

“Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service currently has seen 24 confirmed cases of COVID-18 that are either isolating at home or have recovered.”

Speaker of the Queensland Parliament and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said staff at Cairns Hospital have done such a wonderful job from the beginning in planning and responding to COVID-19 in their community.

“We are in extraordinary circumstances, and I would like to wholeheartedly thank our health heroes on the frontline who have been working around the clock to prepare for and care for patients who have fallen ill to COVID-19,” Mr Pitt said.

“For the past two months our public health experts at Tropical Public Health Services have been working around the clock to screen possible cases, track and trace contacts of cases, manage vital data and provide public health advice in changing circumstances.”

Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said our staff will be on the front line to protect our local community as this pandemic unfolds.

“Whether they’re treating COVID-19 patients, conducting contact tracing, implementing prevention measures or managing health resources, they’re working incredibly hard to protect Queenslanders,” Mr Crawford said.

“We now need all our community to help protect our health staff by staying at home, and following instructions about hand washing and hygiene.”

Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said the community can be assured that our hospitals are well prepared.

“We have established a virtual COVID-19 ward to manage and monitor all people who have tested positive to COVID-19 and whose symptoms are mild enough to enable them to remain in isolation at home. This includes telephoning and visiting patients on a regular basis,” Ms Lui said.

“We have established fever clinics and are ready to open more when needed; we have beds and staff ready today to manage a potential influx of patients across our hospitals; and we have stocks and supplies.

“On Tuesday this week, we opened our first drive-through fever clinic at Cairns North Community Health Centre where people phone ahead for an appointment and are tested for COVID-19 whilst sitting in their car.”

Minister Miles said one of the main purposes of our visits is to meet with key clinicians and executives and determine what more can be done to contain COVID-19.

“Every one of our Hospital and Health Services has a comprehensive plan in place but pandemics by their very nature are unpredictable and apt to change rapidly so it’s critical they have our full support.”

Board Chair Clive Skarott said the local community can have confidence in the local hospitals and their staff to respond to the growing outbreak of COVID-19.

“In my time as Board Chair, I have met many of our incredibly dedicated health staff across our region and I am proud of the way they are rising to this new challenge.

“They are all our local health heroes and they are doing an amazing job.”

Acting Chief Executive Tina Chinery said she is very proud of the staff efforts and by how much has been achieved in such a short time.

“So far we have opened fever clinics at Cairns Hospital, Atherton Hospital and Yarrabah which people can access via the Emergency Department if they meet the testing criteria.

“In the past 10 days, I have personally visited Innisfail, Mareeba and Atherton hospitals as well as Cairns Hospital and met with our staff.

More than 835 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Queensland, an increase of 57 cases in the past day.

Queensland Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young said no region was immune to the novel coronavirus.

“While the majority of cases are in southeast Queensland, numbers are unfortunately climbing in regional areas of the state,” she said.

“This is a pandemic, which means no matter where people live, they are at risk of COVID-19. The best way to avoid infection is to follow our advice and comply with rules in place regarding quarantine and isolation, social distancing, shutdown protocols, personal hygiene and non-essential travel.

“Heeding our advice will save lives; if not your own, then someone else’s.”

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