Qld pharmacy, Tas hospital staff quarantined

A staff member from an Ipswich pharmacy was confirmed to have COVID-19 over the long weekend, and nine colleagues are in quarantine

Queensland Health said in a statement on Saturday that nine new cases were confirmed for that day.

“Contact tracing is underway for the nine new cases,” it said. “Queensland Health will notify the community if any other public health alerts are required.

“One of the confirmed Queensland cases is a staff member from an Ipswich pharmacy at Riverlink Shopping Centre. Nine fellow staff members are now in quarantine.

“Contact tracing is complete and the positive case had limited interactions, hygiene practices and social distancing means customers who visited the pharmacy are considered at low risk.”

On Sunday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk praised Queenslanders for their compliance with restrictions, particularly over the Easter break.

“Of course we know we still have a very long way to go, but all of the signs are encouraging and it is clearly evident that Australia is indeed flattening the COVID-19 curve,” she said.

Also on Saturday, Fairfax Media reported that state Health Minister Steven Miles lauded health sector workers, including pharmacists and pharmacy staff, for their “incredibly important” work in the battle against COVID-19.

Meanwhile Tasmania has taken the step of closing two hospitals in its north-west, with all staff and their household members expected to stay in quarantine for two weeks.

The ABC reports that the North West Regional Hospital and North West Private Hospital in Burnie are to be deep-cleaned this week.

State premier Peter Gutwein and Minister for Health Sarah Courtney issued a statement saying that “The North-West COVID-19 outbreak has presented significant challenges, and we have been working night and day to ensure essential care is continuing to be provided for North-West Tasmanians”.

“We have already seen unprecedented measures to date, aimed at containing this outbreak, including diverting ambulance services, closing wards to new admissions, and quarantining staff and their households.

“On the advice of Public Health Services and key clinical leaders, we are now taking the next step to ensure that we can get on top of this.

“This has been an extremely difficult decision to make, and has involved complex clinical planning, but it is based on the best advice from our local experts.

“The protection of our health workers and health facilities must remain our number one priority.”

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