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Covid-19 public health alert issued as Cairns Hospital opens dedicated coronavirus ward

A public health alert has been issued with three people testing positive for COVID-19, as Cairns Hospital opens a dedicated coronavirus ward to cope with a potential outbreak in the city.

Queensland Health says the three people attended a wrestling event at the PCYC Edmonton on March 14th. 

“If you attended this event and have remained well, there is no need to be concerned,” a spokesperson said.

“It is now beyond the maximum incubation period.

“If you attended this event and have experienced fever, fatigue, shortness of breath, a sore throat and/or a cough, then you should seek medical advice.”

Contact tracing is underway, however people who are concerned should call their GP or 13HEALTH on 13 43 25 84.

According to the PWP Shamrocks & Shenanigans event, hosted by Pro Wrestling Power, 33 people attended.

The latest positive cases brings the total number of covid-19 patients in the Cairns region to 24.

Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service has now opened a dedicated COVID-19 ward to deal with the extra capacity. 

A memo sent to staff on Friday said people in the ward were at that time yet to return positive results.

“Following a number of presentations of suspected COVID cases with co-morbidities at Cairns Hospital, yesterday we opened our first dedicated COVID-19 ward in the Adolescent Ward area,” it reads.

“There are staged plans in place for additional wards to become COVID dedicated at Cairns Hospital as well as at Innisfail, Atherton, Mareeba and Mossman hospitals.”

The memo also addressed staff concerns about a lack of personal protection equipment (PPE).

“The protection of our staff and patients is our number one priority and we are getting regular supplies,” it said.

“There are also national plans in place to secure supplies going forward. 

“You can help by ensuring that the appropriate PPE are used to help preserve our P2/N95 masks.

“P2/N95 masks are for airborne and contact precautions.

“Surgical masks are for droplet and contact precautions.

“Single use PPE should not be re-used (unless you are doing training).

“Do not use store-bought or homemade PPE.”

The health service has also cancelled some non-urgent outpatient appointments and elective surgery to increase its capacity for emergency care and limit non-essential physical contact.