Mackay Health Heroes combatting COVID-19 crisis

Mackay doctors, nurses, paramedics and health professionals are expected to receive up to $70 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 met with staff at Mackay Base Hospital with Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert to thank staff for their dedication to protecting their community.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said COVID-19 has impacted communities across our state, including here in Mackay.

“I would like to thank the staff at Mackay Hospital and Health Service for their ongoing dedication to protecting their fellow Queenslanders,” Ms Gilbert said.

“They have done such a wonderful job from the beginning in planning and responding to COVID-19 in their community.

“A great example of this is the expansion of the Hospital In The Home service for people with COVID-19 but are not sick enough to require hospital care.

“Patients in home isolation are contacted every day by phone or video conference by clinicians and by public health to ensure they are complying with isolation requirements.”

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.”

Mackay Hospital and Health Service is currently managing 12 positive COVID-19 cases.

Chief Executive Jo Whitehead said the health service had already successfully cared for COVID-19 patients thanks to rigorous planning and skilled staff.

Ms Whitehead said staff had worked tirelessly for months to ensure plans and processes were in place prior to Mackay Base Hospital receiving its first case mid-March.

“We have admitted patients with COVID-19, cared for them well and at all times we are able to adapt very quickly and respond to community needs.”

Ms Whitehead said the health service has more bed capacity available in order to meet increased need from the community.

“Our Emergency Department has been expanded to include a separate Overflow Clinic where people could be tested for COVID-19 if they met the criteria.

“Our ICU capacity has been expanded to have more ventilated patients if sadly this level of critical care is needed.”

To date 873 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Queensland, an increase of 39 cases in the past day. Four people have died from the disease.

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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