Queensland Health has announced increased utilisation of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) in its hospitals impacted by the recent COVID-19 cluster.
Effective immediately, universal masking (with a single-use surgical mask) is required to be worn by all staff, patients and visitors in the Greater Brisbane area (West Moreton Hospital and Health Services (HHS), Metro North HHS, Metro South HHS and Queensland Children’s Hospital).
Additionally, Queensland Health is also recommending a similar approach for other healthcare providers in the Greater Brisbane area.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Ambulance Services said this approach was made possible by the investment and preparedness the Palaszczuk Government has worked hard on since the first wave of the virus.
“Protecting our community is important, and now we have a stockpile of PPE including masks and gowns that our health heroes on the front line can utilise every single day,” Mr Miles said.
“It is important that we continue to protect the vulnerable in our community, including those who require hospital care, and the health staff who are an integral part of our COVID-19 response.”
Last week, the Queensland Government announced a newly expanded bulk storage site at Inala which would house significant PPE stockpiles. Dr Young said strong PPE supplies has allowed Queensland Health to announce these precautions.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said following the cluster of COVID-19 cases relating to the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre, including one additional case announced today, it makes sense to make this change.
“This is only in place for health facilities in Greater Brisbane who remain on heightened alert because of the current cluster,” explained Dr Young.
“We are working very hard to control this current outbreak and until we get on top of it, it makes sense for us to take this measure.”
Under the plan:
- staff will wear masks at all times while treating patients and at any time where social distancing cannot be maintained.
- all patients are required to wear a mask at all times, except when they are in their own bed.
- any visitors given an exemption to attend hospital will be required to wear a mask during their visit.
Dr Young also said that those in the Greater Brisbane community, who struggle to social distance throughout their day, should also consider wearing a mask.
“Along with washing your hands, social distancing is the gold standard of COVID-19 preventative measures,” she said.
“However, some of us do struggle to maintain social distancing whether at work or socially. For those who fall into this category, face masks can be a useful added layer of protection until they are able to social distance again.”
Advice for wearing a mask.
- avoid touching it while you’re wearing it. If you do, wash your hands.
- do not reuse single-use masks and immediately replace if you have coughed or sneezed into it.
- when disposing of a mask, put it in a sealable bag to ensure the used mask won’t be touched by others. Then put the sealed bag in the bin.
- always clean your hands immediately after removing your mask and putting it in the bin.