Top WA health bodies say Government needs to do much more to prepare for UK virus strain | AMA (WA)

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AMA (WA) | N95 Mask (PPE)

Top WA health bodies say Government needs to do much more to prepare for UK virus strain

Monday January 11, 2021

The Australian Nursing Federation and Australian Medical Association (WA) are calling on the State Government to do much more to prepare for and protect Western Australia from the new, highly transmissible COVID-19 UK strain.

The peak healthcare bodies say staff can only work within the structures provided and it is up to the Government to put in place the policies, procedures and protocols that will allow staff to do their work without risk to themselves or the public and avoid any shortcuts.

The steps that should be taken by the Government right now must include:
• Full aerosol PPE at all time for staff when they are on floors occupied by quarantine guests;
• Review the current PPE procedures to ensure they protect against aerosol transmission of the UK strain, are easily understood and well communicated to all staff;
• As a priority, fit testing of N95 equivalent masks for hotel quarantine staff to guarantee they are wearing masks that have an airtight seal for each user – and anyone who fails the fit test should not be caring for COVID patients (or possible COVID patients);
• Quarantine staff to be restricted to work at just one hotel (and not between hotels or between hotels and RPH or other hospitals) and paid a bonus to do so;
• Audit and report on ventilation standards in quarantine and transfer vehicles to prevent aerosol spread, using Occupational Hygienists and Physicians;
• Issue reusable, triple-layered fabric masks to the general public – immediately – in preparation for any sudden outbreak of the UK virus in the community;
• COVID marshals to monitor and enforce social distancing in public places such as shopping centres;
• Encourage anyone who can work from home to do so as much as possible;
• Organise for efficient mass testing to ensure the population is not overly inconvenienced should outbreaks occur and large testing numbers be required.