Date published: 
24 August 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

KARL STEFANOVIC:

As Victoria's COVID numbers finally start to drop, the focus is now shifting to Queensland and New South Wales where a worrying number of mystery cases are starting to emerge.

ALLISON LANGDON:

Right now Queensland Health is racing to identify the source of a new cluster at Brisbane Youth Detention Centre that's responsible for nine cases. While in New South Wales a second hotel security guard has tested positive for the virus. For more on this, we are joined by Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Alison McMillan. Alison, thank you so much for your time this morning. Let's talk about this cluster in Queensland. How worrying is it that we still don't know the source?

ALISON MCMILLAN:

I think that there is some concern that we don't yet know the source and as you know Ally, and we spoke before about the expectation that we will see outbreaks such as this, Queensland Health have been working night and day to try to identify that source while trying to also contain any further spread.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

The part of the problem here is when you're talking about cases in very built up areas, all the areas they're talking about here involve Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, Costco, I mean there are lots of people inside those places. So it can be a little bit tricky to try and get in touch with everyone that may have had some sort of contact with this person.

ALISON MCMILLAN:

That's right. And so it is a salient reminder that despite the numbers in Queensland being low for such a long time, we've heard the Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young really continue to emphasise the importance of the principles that we've now become accustomed to, the 1.5 metres, hand hygiene, stay home if you're sick. So they will help protect everyone from spread if you're in somewhere such as a shopping centre or a large supermarket.

ALISON LANGDON:

Do you think that the way that Victoria is tracking at the moment, are they in line to lift restrictions when this lockdown ends in three weeks?

ALISON MCMILLAN:

I think Ally we've heard that the Premier's been very cautious, there's an abundance of caution in fact in Victoria, they are wanting to see these numbers significantly go down and then they'll look at what their options are around restrictions. But I think that we've heard over the last few weeks that they will want to see those numbers significantly down from where they are now. Although as I, like everyone else, is very encouraged to see the success that Victoria's had and congratulate all Victorians on their enormous effort and reflect on the challenges they've been facing in recent weeks.

ALLISON LANGDON:

Realistically then it could go a little longer than the six weeks?

ALISON MCMILLAN:

I think ultimately that will be the decision for the Chief Health Officer. But we can't expect that we will see a complete reduction in any of those restrictions. It takes a stepped approach over time and they will want to very closely monitor the numbers of cases they are seeing in Victoria.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Alison, The Herald Sun did an incredibly powerful story over the weekend with a frontline nurse who is essentially there to deal with the grief, right on the frontline, of people passing away, of people talking to their loved ones before they pass away via a telephone and also iPads and things like that. I mean, that was such a powerful indication of what people are seeing on the frontline and what nurses and doctors are seeing on the frontline, taking a toll.

ALISON MCMILLAN:

That's correct, Karl, an enormous toll. And we- my profession has always been at that frontline of supporting a dying patient is an extraordinary difficult thing to do. And doing it without family and friends around and needing to do it remotely, just adds to that challenge. We need to remember and remind ourselves, everyone out there today, the reason we're asking you to do these things so that we can minimise the number of people we see die. We know now we've passed 500 and we don't want to see as few more as that what we're looking for, Karl.

ALLISON LANGDON:

When we heard over the weekend that a second Sydney security guard has now tested positive, I think there was alarm. But is that an over-reaction? Because I think we hear that and our brain immediately takes us to what's happened in Victoria.

ALISON MCMILLAN:

I think that, yeah, there is alarm and I think it's important to remind everyone that everyone is human. And the wearing of PPE is extremely difficult, it's very tiring, it's exhausting. It only often needs a momentary slip in your concentration and you can get infected. So all our healthcare workers out there do this day on day and it is very difficult. And a security guard is also- one slight slip, and we can see them get infected. So I think we need to avoid this focus on individuals or looking to blame anyone. It's about supporting them and supporting the system because by far our hotel quarantine has been extremely successful in preventing the spread of returned travellers.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Okay. And we have to just get through this, don't we? Alison, thank you so much for your time and all the work that everyone is doing. Appreciate it. She does a great job doesn't she?

ALISON MCMILLAN:

Thanks guys.

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