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COVID-19: GP Alert (29 May 2020)

May 29, 2020

NEW – More Queenslanders must get tested for COVID-19

The Queensland Clinical Senate continue to encourage Queenslanders with ANY symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 are to get tested for the virus. Fewer than 5,000 are being tested each day. Increased testing is vital as restrictions are lifted. Please encourage family, friends and patients to be tested if they have any symptoms of the virus.

AHPPC statement on restoration of elective surgery and hospital activity

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee released a statement on 22 May which aims to increase the availability of elective surgery and hospital activity in a safe and equitable way on a nationally consistent basis. This includes ensuring surge capacity in the hospital system is maintained to respond to any localised COVID-19 outbreaks that occur. More information on the Queensland context will be provided as it become available.

NEW – Public Health Direction hotline established

Queensland Health has established a hotline for questions about Public Health Directions for COVID-19. Please continue to direct people to the website in the first instance as the FAQs are comprehensive. The hotline is available for any additional questions. Both the Direction and exemption form pages are currently being redeveloped and will include the hotline number—134 COVID (134 26843)—when they re-launch this week.

  • For full details on public health Directions, including FAQs, please click here.
  • To apply for an exemption to a Direction, please click here.

Supporting people with disability during COVID-19

The Department of Health has recently developed five (5) fact sheets for health professionals regarding supporting people with disability during the COVID-19 pandemic, including one (1) fact sheet specifically for primary health care workers. These fact sheets have been developed as part of the implementation of the COVID-19 Management and Operation Plan for People with Disability.

Lung function tests

The TSANZ in conjunction with the ANZSRS updated their recommendations about lung function testing:

  • All Pulmonary Function Testing including cardiopulmonary exercise testing and bronchoprovocation testing can now be performed in patients who are afebrile, and who have no symptoms of a viral illness.
  • In such patients, infection control measures (such as level of PPE and cleaning of equipment between patients) in line with respective Federal and state health departments, and physical distancing in public areas is still required.
  • It is recommended that Body Temperature is measured on all patients prior to testing to ensure they are afebrile.
  • They also recommend that testing only be performed using lung function equipment that use inline filters.

Accreditation during COVID-19

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has maintained the accreditation for all health service organisations to maximise the capacity of workforce in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic and comply with social distancing requirements. As a result, onsite assessments will not recommence until Australia is in the recovery phase of the pandemic. More information including FAQs can be found on their website.

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affecting Health Care practitioners in the Darling Downs and West Moreton Regions: