Date published: 
29 July 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

NATALIE BARR:

Australia's Deputy Chief Medical Dr Nick Coatsworth, joins me from Canberra now. Morning to you. Australia's medical SWAT team are headed to Melbourne? What assistance will they be providing?

NICK COATSWORTH:

Well what we've seen down in Melbourne, Nat, is that many of the most effective aged care facilities have had some of their senior management, their senior nurses, their residential aged care staff have to isolate either with the virus or because they're contacts. So we're spending clinical leaders from the AUSMAT fraternity to be able to support those nursing homes, to be able to support the remaining staff and provide the leadership and decision-making capacity that's required to give the residents the care that they and their families deserve.

NATALIE BARR:

How do you make sure they don't get sick?

NICK COATSWORTH:

Well this is the same team, the same service that went down to northwest regional Tasmania, not precisely the same team, but of course they're highly trained in personal protective equipment, they would be able to engage in training others, in making sure that the staff in residential aged care facilities are using PPE appropriately.

So they'll be taking every measure that they can to stop themselves getting it and certainly, they'll be using PPE and their risk will be very low indeed.

NATALIE BARR:

Is there enough PPE? Because we just had the union on earlier today saying there's not?

NICK COATSWORTH:

There is- there is certainly enough to personal protective equipment and any residential aged care facility should look towards their primary health network for distribution. We've announced 500,000 face shields to go down to Victoria to add extra protection for those residential aged care staff. Everyone in Victoria in those hotspots at the moment is what required to wear masks when caring for patients. And we certainly have sufficient mask supply to be able to make that happen.

NATALIE BARR:

Okay. We've just been hearing in Queensland this morning, a school in at Logan has a case. A teacher has tested positive; it's been closed. Could this be the beginning of a cluster? Or just some random case?

NICK COATSWORTH:

Well this is exactly what the Queensland Public Health Unit will be working out today and over the coming days. It's obviously a very important thing to get on top of as quickly as possible and we know that Professor Jeanette Young and her team will be doing that. The school is being closed, undergoing a deep clean and the contact tracing will be taking place as we speak.

NATALIE BARR:

In Sydney, we're seeing more and more restaurants and venues; cases in those places. Should we all be minimising our time going out? Should we be stopping going out?

NICK COATSWORTH:

I think we need to wait until that direction comes, if it comes from New South Wales public health. I think what it reflects though, Nat, is that when there is a case of COVID-19, it is those indoor venues where there's mixing of different people who don't necessarily know each other that causes risk.

Now, it's been a handful of restaurants in New South Wales, but if New South Wales public health have it in mind that further restrictions need to take place, they'll be the ones to let us know.

NATALIE BARR:

Okay. Thank you very much, Dr Nick.

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