Townsville Health heroes combatting COVID-19 crisis

Townsville doctors, nurses, paramedics and health professionals are expected to receive up to $158 million in extra funding to ramp up their COVID-19 preparations thanks to the Palaszczuk Government.

Health Minister Steven Miles today met with staff at Townsville University Hospital with Member for ThuringowaAaron Harper, Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke and Member for Townsville Scott Stewart to thank staff for their dedication to protecting their community.

“COVID-19 has impacted communities across our state, and I would like to thank the staff at Townsville Hospital and Health Service for their ongoing dedication to protecting their fellow Queenslanders,” Minister Miles said.

“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 care for and manage patients who have fallen ill to COVID-19.

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

“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.

“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.”

Townsville Hospital and Health Service chief executive Kieran Keyes said thousands of hours had gone into preparing to respond to COVID-19 in North Queensland.

“We’ve been working non-stop to prepare for COVID-19 in Townsville and the community should be confident in our ability to rise to the challenge,” he said.

“There are strong plans in place to ramp up our response quickly when we see increased cases in Townsville.

“Our teams are ready to go to support our community. We’ll stay at work for you but please stay at home for us.”

Mr Keyes said Townsville had commissioned a dedicated inpatient ward to treat COVID-19 patients, had a pathology laboratory that could test for COVID-19 and had conducted a series of public health briefings with key health and community stakeholders.

“Townsville Hospital and Health Service currently has no inpatients with COVID-19, all cases are either isolating at home or have recovered, and has seen 19 confirmed cases.”

781 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Queensland, an increase of 40 cases in the past day. Three 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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