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Gold Coast local heroes on COVID-19 frontline


By Genevieve Waldie

In the eight months since COVID-19 arrived in Queensland, the staff of the Gold Coast Public Health Unit (GCPHU) have continued to show determination, resilience and ingenuity in response to the pandemic.

The first case of coronavirus in the state was confirmed in the coastal city in January and managed at Gold Coast University Hospital. American actors Rita and Tom Hanks who tested positive in March also received treatment in there.

The GCPHU has now managed 215 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Epidemiologists of the hospital complex have carried out a contract tracing app that became a crucial resource in supporting the health unit’s efforts.

Since January, 215 confirmed cases on the Gold Coast have been interviewed to determine close links, with almost 3000 people identified as close contacts.

Additionally, near to 5000 travellers and their contacts have been monitored in that time, totalling over 33,000 surveys or contact points.

GCPHU Director Sharon Jurd said the unit was proud to be able to share some of the behind-the-scenes work being done to protect the community.

“From working with business to increase their patronage through COVID-safe planning to supporting people in quarantine, to (assisting) visits to loved one’s palliative care, our team have risen to and bended around the demands the virus has presented along the way with ingenuity.

The Deputy Premier and Minister for Health, Steven Miles, said the numbers demonstrated just how relentless the team were in staying ahead of the virus.

“I’m really pleased to have been able to hear in person from the public health team leading this work, and overseeing the care and monitoring of those who spent time in quarantine here on the Gold Coast.”

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