Thursday, 16 July 2020
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Local testing centres set up for COVID-19

Ipswich Hospital has a coronavirus fever clinic and staff are stationed outside the Emergency Department to direct patients to the fever clinic if required.

Rural hospitals such as Boonah, Gatton, Esk and Laidley have separate, designated areas for testing where patients can be sent to.

According to a Queensland Health spokesperson there are strategies in place to ensure the health system is prepared for all COVID-19 scenarios.

On Thursday morning, the World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus a pandemic.

And according to WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, there are more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries and 4,291 people have died.

“We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction,” Mr Ghebreyesus said.

He called on all countries to take urgent and aggressive action.

This follows Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement of a $2.4 billion COVID-19 health package “... to protect all Australians, including vulnerable groups such as the elderly, those with chronic conditions and Indigenous communities.”

The package will fund:

  • A medicare telehealth service, so people who are vulnerable (for example people who are immuno-suppressed or elderly) or those with suspected COVID-19 cases can get help over the phone.
  • More than $200 million to build 100 respiratory clinics across the country.
  • $170 million for a new medicare pathology test for COVID-19.
  • Upgrading the national hotline to a 24 hour, seven day a week service.
  • Funding for remote community preparedness and retrieval, to ensure there’s capability to test and transport people if needed from remote areas.
  • $100 million in support for the aged care workforce.
  • $30 million for research into vaccines, antivirals and immunotherapy.
  • $1 billion for overall national support, which includes the national medical stockpile, the incident 
  • $30 million for a national communications campaign to provide people with practical advice on how they can play their part in containing the virus and staying healthy. 

The campaign will keep the health and aged care industry informed, including providing up to date clinical guidance, triaging and caring for patients, development of an app and advice to workers in looking after their own safety.

These measures are in addition to the  $500 million in funding which has already been announced for the states and territories for COVID-19. The Commonwealth will cover the additional costs incurred by states and territories in diagnosing and treating patients with COVID-19, or suspected of having the disease.

And the advice from Queensland Health is if you have been overseas in the past 14 days and feel unwell, please call 13HEALTH, your GP or local hospital to arrange an assessment.

 “Calling ahead to the GP clinic or hospital to let them know your symptoms and travel history helps them prepare for your arrival.”