Queensland Health has announced new measures to prepare the State for the potential impacts of COVID-19, revealing that emergency department capacity will triple across all hospitals.
Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk said that a meeting of the State’s Public Health and Safety Committee agreed the measures would also include the purchasing an additional 110 ventilators; $25 million worth of medicines, gloves and masks and additional capacity for fever clinics.
Ms Palaszczuk said the hope was that none of the measures would be needed but Queensland had to be prepared.
“Queensland is acknowledged as being among the best prepared for the outbreak of this virus,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Our Chief Health Officer was preparing Queensland’s defences while Coronavirus was still 7,000 kilometres from our shores.”
She said the State Health Emergency Co-ordination Centre was activated on 25 January, three weeks after the first patients were identified in Wuhan.
“An experienced team of health experts, led by Chief Health Officer, Jeannette Young has been working behind the scenes to ensure Queensland is already in a strong position against COVID-19,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“A top priority is ensuring capacity in our emergency departments and our intensive care units, and that our hospitals are actively stockpiling medicines and equipment.”
Minister for Health, Steven Miles said Queensland hospitals were ready to mobilise fever clinics if and when required.
“We discussed options for quarantine facilities also and asked Queensland Health to ensure staff levels are adequate,” Mr Miles said.
“We are ready to redirect clinical staff into hospital positions when and where needed.”
He said the current public health emergency declaration had been extended until midnight on 19 May to enable Queensland Health to continue to enact all containment measures necessary.