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10 new cases in QLD as doctors call for more protection

a doctor's stethoscope

By Juliano Oliveira

With two ongoing clusters in Brisbane stemmed from the contact between health workers and COVID-19 patients, medical associations in Queensland are calling for more fit-testings.

Today, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that ten new cases had been recorded overnight, eight of which are community-acquired.

It is known that six are close contacts of confirmed cases. The other two are currently under investigation. However, they are likely to be linked to the two clusters, according to Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young.

One is related to the doctor at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, while the second one relates to the nurse from the same hospital who recently tested positive. None of the health workers had received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

Australian Salaried Medical Officers’ Federation Queensland (ASMOFQ) and Australian Medical Association (AMA) affirmed that doctors might be at risk of contracting COVID-19.

A survey conducted by both organisations showed that almost half of the 365 doctors who responded said they regularly treated cases that might be infected with COVID-19. 70% confirmed not been fit-tested for the P2/N95 face masks used when treating contaminated patients. 

“Without proper fit-testing, doctors may be exposed to COVID-19 and potentially contract and spread the virus to vulnerable patients, other healthcare workers and the community,” ASMOFQ Vice President Dr Hau Tan said.

The survey also indicated 43% of respondents had not yet received their first COVID-19 vaccination.  

AMA Queensland President Professor Chris Perry recognised that the vaccination program would take time to roll out but called on Queensland Health to speed the immunisation of doctors and healthcare workers in hospitals. 

“The survey results are a real concern for medical staff and their patients, many of whom move around the health system, between public and private hospitals, and in our community,” Prof. Perry said. 

“At the bare minimum, any healthcare worker treating COVID positive patients must have appropriate, fit-tested PPE and their COVID vaccination.”

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young told as of tomorrow, only health workers who have been vaccinated will be acting directly with patients.

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